Tag Archives: hermes 1

Sunday 24th April 2022 – JUST FOR A CHANGE …

scaffolding repairing medieval city walls rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022… my walk this afternoon took me around the medieval city walls to see what was happening around there.

And so while you admire the progress that they have been making with the repointing of the medieval city walls in the Place du Marché aux Chevaux and the Rue du Nord, I’ll tell you all about my rather quiet day today.

“Quiet” was definitely the word to use because it didn’t actually start until 11:40 when I finally fell, not without a great deal of difficulty, out of bed.

And even then I wasn’t really in all that much of a mood to do very much for a while.

repairing medieval city walls rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022After brunch I eventually buckled down to work and the first task was to pair up the music of the next radio programme.

That didn’t take too long and then I turned my attention to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night.

There was a war on. The whole system of supply chains and everything was totally disrupted and nothing was being produced anywhere. One person organised something that churned out tonnes of stuff much quicker than anything else had ever been churned out and was rescuing people from cars (including a girl in a wheelchair whom I know), all kinds of things. It became some kind of by-word on the TV what he was doing but someone actually went behind the scenes afterwards and showed loads of collateral damage that had been done. This was really something that could only be done once because they couldn’t afford the damage that was being committed to the infrastructure and everything in doing it. There was litter and junk abandoned all over the place that couldn’t ever be used again. Barges were just emptied and dumped and didn’t go back for return loads etc.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There was also something about a delivery service something like ours … “whose?” – ed … that had all kinds of weird and strange rules about delivery. They were catching people out because of the volume of stuff that they were sending. There was one case where they were sending stuff to be collected by a young family on behalf of a relative but were totally overwhelmed with packets. They had to bring in someone from the company to try to deal with all of these deliveries and deal with all of these children as well in this family who were being disturbed by the continual flow of parcels etc. Again there were parcels dumped all over the place. It was like a runaway juggernaut type of situation with these kids in a pram or pushchair and this guy from the parcel company trying to control them and the parcels, trying to obtain all of the address details changed etc. These two dreams were extremely stressful.

Finally there was a group of soldiers, an informal group who rode into a fort in order to help defend it. They eventually found where the colonel’s office was. He was totally intoxicated rather like the colonel in THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY. He told them to take their place wherever they thought fit. Having had a tour of the walls with the colonel, the guy in charge took a huge lump of bread and some cheese, pickels etc and went back to his men. He started to talk to them about the defence of the city and the battle and shared out the food amongst them.

When I listened to what was on the dictaphone, I was quite surprised. I was convinced that there was much more than this too. I had the feeling that I was awake for much of the night dictating into the dictaphone. I know that in the past I’ve caught myself dictating into my hand instead of the dictaphone and I wonder if I’ve been doing that again.

All of this took me up to the time when I would usually go for walkies around the headland.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022But as I had made up my mind to go around the walls this afternoon I made a little diversion to have a look over the wall at the end of the car park to see who was down on the bach this afternoon.

Although there was quite a strong wind it was really bright and sunny this afternoon and so there wre quite a few people down there, not that there was an awful lot of beach to be on right now.

No-one actually brave enough to put their feet in the water though. It wasn’t actually that warm. That will probably be for another time later on. There are a couple more Bank Holidays coming up imminently

cabin cruiser baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022While I was out there looking down at the beach I had my roving eye looking around out at sea.

Although there was quite a haze out there and not even the Ile de Chausey was visible, there was plenty of activity just offshore. There was a cabin cruiser and a couple of speedboats for a start, and probably a few other things that I couldn’t make out.

No fishing boats though – they must all be having a day off today.

So I pushed on … “pushed off” – ed … along the path down past where they were repairing the medieval city walls, dodging the English family with the dog who were trying to negotiate the scaffolding.

But the repairs are continuing along the Rue du Nord right now, even though the big crack in the walls where they have been repairing is filling me with some kind of concern.

beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022From the Place du Marché aux Chevaux I passed through the arch and along the path underneath the walls where I used to go running all that time ago.

Down at the viewpoint overlooking the beach at the Plat Gousset I stopped to have a look down there to see what was happening.

The summer season hasn’t officially started yet. The promenade cabins haven’t arrived on the Plat Gosset yet and the diving platform on the pillar hasn’t been put back. I imagine that that’s for some other time later on.

The tidal swimming pool is looking nice though, although no-one is taking advantage of that right now either.

plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022From there I continued on to the viewpoint overlooking the Place Maréchal Foch.

As well as the vertical-axis wind turbine spinning around in the foreground, we had lots of people milling around on the beach and on the Plat Gousset. The fine weather has certainly brought them out in their droves.

Even the seagull that bombed the photograph on the extreme left-hand edge seemed to be enjoying itself too as it prepares to alight on the roof of the casino down there.

seagull nesting rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022While we’re on the subject of seagulls … “well, one of us is” – ed … it’s that time of year again.

The town’s gardeners have been out cutting the grass and the seagulls have been collecting it. They’ve built all of their nests on the roofs of the houses and they are now settling down to lay their eggs.

In a couple of weeks we might catch sight of the eggs and then we can watch the seagull chicks slowly growing up. I shall have to make a note to come by this way more often in order to watch the events as they unfold until the chicks are ready to fly away.

planters square maurice marland Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Here in the Square Maurice Marland there have been a few more developments too.

A few years ago they spent a lot of money renovating the square and then the let it run to seed somewhat. At one time just recently it was looking quite shabby.

However, while I’ve not been paying attantion, they have been slowly bringing it back into condition.

These planters are quite new. They certainly weren’t here before. I wonder what we’re going to see planted in them.

marité belle france ch711273 hermes 1 ch651332 hera ch639451 philcathane ch642969 Galapagos sm734551 hermine Bastien Steeven pl626645 Le P'tit Caprice port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Back into town there wasn’t anything happening so I went to have a look at the port.

With having seen no fishing boats out at sea this afternoon I was expecting to see them all in the harbour. And they certainly were there too.

Quite a few whom we have seen before, like Hermes I, Hera, Philcathane and Galapagos but there are a couple there who are strangers. SM734551 is called Hermine Bastien Steeven, the SM telling us that despite her Dutch name, is from Saint Malo, and PL626645 is called Le P’tit Caprice, registered down the coast at Paimpol in Brittany.

Marité and Belle France are in there today too which is a surprise. They ought to be out at sea earning their keep with a couple of loads of tourists.

Back here I had a coffee and then sat down with the guitar. On the playlist earlier, the song ROLL ME AWAY had come round. When I listened closely to it, I reckoned that it was a fairly simple chord progression so I sat down to work it out.

And it works too. So for my next trick I’ll work out a bass line to it.

Regular readers will recall that I said in the past that I won’t add any more songs to my own acoustic playlist set until I can master the ones there, but this particular one has always been a favourite of mine and it has a certain significance.

“Stood alone on a mountain top
Starin’ out at the Great Divide
I could go East, I could go West
It was all up to me to decide”

Doesn’t that remind me of when I was standing up there on the HIGH PLAINS OF WYOMING in 2002?

And what about
“12 hours out of Mackinaw City
Stopped in a bar to have a brew
Met a girl and we had a few drinks
And I told her what I’d decided to do
She looked out the window a long long moment
Then she looked into my eyes
She didn’t have to say a thing
I knew what she was thinkin’
Roll, roll me away
Won’t you roll me away tonight
I too am lost, I feel double-crossed
And I’m sick of what’s wrong and what’s right
We never even said a word
We just walked out and got on that bike
And we rolled
And we rolled clean out of sight
We rolled across the high plains
Deep into the mountains
Felt so good to me
Finally feelin’ free
Somewhere along a high road
The air began to turn cold
She said she missed her home
I headed on alone”
?

And the air certainly was cold where we were at the time that all of this was going on. Yes, one day I really will, I promise you, write about those three missing days on my blog.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Tea tonight was, as usual, a vegan pizza.

After lunch I’d taken out a lump of frozen dough from the freezer and it had been happily defrosting during the afternoon. When I’d finished what I’d needed to do I rolled it out and when it had proofed I assembled it.

After last week’s unsatisfactory attempt when it was overcooked, I turned the oven down slightly today and that produced a much better effort. I didn’t break any teeth this evening.

But I’m off to bed in a minute. An early start and a radio programme to complete. And two to send off – I mustn’t forget that, as I’m not here next week.

Well, in fact I’m not all here at any time but let’s not bog ourselves down in semantics.

Thursday 15th April 2021 – THERE’S BEEN SOME …

hermes 1 going back into the water with the portable boat lift aztec lady nyx 3 anakena notre dame de cap lihou chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… excitement this morning over at the chantier navale.

If you look closely at this photo that I took this morning of the place, you’ll notice that Hermes I has now disappeared from its blocks in between Anakena and the pleasure craft Nys III and left them all on their own with Aztec Lady at the back and with the lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou over there on the far right.

And if you look even closer still, you’ll see the portable boat lift poised over the drop into the water over on the left-hand side, with Hermes I suspended in its cradle.

So it’s goodbye to Hermes I after all of this time.

anakena nyx 3 aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd that’s not all of the excitement over there either.

When I was out there for my afternoon walk and went past the chantier navale, I noticed that there had been yet another change of occupant. The lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou has also gone back into the water, presumably on the same tide that took Hermes I away earlier.

Things are really moving over there right now. And here’s hoping that they will have a few replacements over there to keep the yard busy.

Talking of things being busy, I’ve been quite busy today too. And I started quite early too, having leapt out of bed just after the first alarm went off at 06:00.

After the medication I attacked the photos from North America from August 2019. And by the time that I knocked off for my shower I’d dealt with another big pile of them. I’ve now left the site of the Battle of Little Big Horn and I’m actually at a coal mine at Decker in Montana on my way to the site of the Battle of the Rosebud.

After the shower I headed off into town for my weekly shopping excursion, having a glance at what was going on at the chantier navale on my way.

roadworks rue general patton Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown in the Rue General Patton I had to step pretty smartly to avoid being squidged by a mini-digger.

It looks like it’s the local water board that are doing all of the work here, judging by the fittings and pipes that they had all lying around, so there’s probably been a water leak that has required fixing.

First port of call this morning was the railway station to pick up my rail tickets for my trip to Leuven next week.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I like to collect my tickets a few days before I travel because the printing machine at the station isn’t all that reliable. The ticket office doesn’t open until long after my train departs and if there’s a fault with the machine and it doesn’t print off my ticket when I arrive for my train, I’m snookered.

emptying tarmacadam for road surface rue du rocher Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn my way from the station to LIDL there was more excitement going on.

There’s a little narrow street close to the railway station and it looks as if they are replacing the tarmac on the street. They can’t get the lorry down there so they are tipping the tarmac into a small dumper that it taking the tarmac down to the end.

In LIDL there wasn’t much that I wanted so it was just the usual same old bits and pieces with a few extra things that I need sometimes, like yeast, oats, flour and suchlike, just to make up the weight. There’s no point in going all that way and back again and coming back with almost nothing.

Back here I sorted out the shopping, put the frozen food away and came in here to do some work but ended up going to sleep – a proper, deep, exhausting sleep for quite a while too.

As a result my lunch was quite late and then afterwards I made the desserts for the rest of the week. I had some of this powder stuff that when heated an mixed with milk, sets into a kind of mousse. With a few spoonfuls of desiccated coconut and a tin of apricots I made four desserts for the next few days.

And then I had a totally new experience. I attended a virtual funeral.

This was one to which I had been invited but due to the virus the number of attendees was quite restricted. There is a service offered by some of the larger crematoria where there’s a webcam and people can subscribe to the service. I’d been sent the log-in details and so I used them to watch the funeral

It was actually a quite moving experience

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter the service it was time for me to go for my afternoon walk. Of course the first port of call was to see what was going on on the beach so I took myself across the car park to the wall at the end so I could look down there.

Despite the reasonable weather and the fact that the schools are still out for now, there were very few people down there on the beach. I had to look long and hard before I actually saw anyone. There were no bright yellow ones today to give the game away.

There was also the bird of prey flying around, and at one point it stopped to hover around. And just as I focused the camera it swopped down out of my shot.

trawler in english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was a great deal of maritime activity out there this afternoon.

From my vantage point I could see out to sea and I noticed a couple more fishing boats out there in the English Channel, performing the same routine as the two yesterday had been, only slightly farther round to the west today.

The sun was really bright over there in that direction, and that made the photography difficult. But it was interesting to see the reflection of the clouds on the sea. That was certainly something different today.

There weren’t very many people wandering around this afternoon so it was pretty comfortable out there this afternoon, avoiding the crowds. Just one or two cars on the car park this afternoon.

trawlers in baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that for the last couple of days we’ve seen fishing boats working in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

There were a few more out there today as well. It seems that the offshore fishing grounds must be divided up into areas that they work by rota, and it must be the turn of the bay to be worked at the moment. I wonder how long they’ll be working that area before they move on.

From there I moved on too. Along the footpath on top of the cliffs towards the port.

We’ve already seen what has been going on at the chantier navale so I didn’t spent too much time there. With the tide being well out right now there was no activity of any kind going on in the outer harbour

cherry picker repairing aerial square pelley le pleville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNothing much going on in the inner harbour either, but the people who were on the cherry picker yesterday working on the aerial in the Square. This seems to be a long, complicated job.

But one thing that I haven’t noticed before, and I don’t know why, is the red and white aerial on the skyline to the right of centre. And when I think of the number of times that I’ve photographed this end of town and the number of times that I’ve walked that way (and anyone who mentions “talcum power” is disqualified) including this morning, I’m surprised.

So instead I walked on back home to my apartment where I had my hot coffee and then came in here to do some work but instead, I fell asleep yet again. That’s something that’s really getting me down. It seems that the slightest effort is making me crash out and I’m fed up of this – fed up completely.

As a result I missed some of my guitar practice and that annoyed me even more. I’m not doing very well at all just recently.

For tea I made a curry with mushrooms, potatoes, a sweet potato and a tin of chick peas. It was delicious. And one of the puddings that I made, with coconut soya stuff and chocolate sauce was delicious.

Now I’m off to bed. later than usual but it can’t be helped. For the next two days I am not planning to go anywhere or do anything so I’m hoping to start on another one of the projects that I shelved a while ago.

There are quite a few of those.

Wednesday 14th April 2021 – I AM NOW …

… a proper, legal, registered citizen of France.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a couple of years ago, with Brexit, we all had a mad scramble to assemble piles and piles of documentation to prove our status in France. That was pretty important because we had no clue as to what would happen once the UK left the EU

And having done so, we were eventually all issued with temporary residence cards.

The next problem was that the UK then abandoned us all to our fate, refusing to negotiate a residence position for us, with the result that we were once more left in limbo because our temporary residence cards became invalid and there was no recognised right of residence.

Consequently each EU member state was left to deal with the issue on its own terms, and some of us in France who had had residence cards under the previous system were luckier than others in France and elsewhere because it simply involved reregistering.

That was something that I did just after Christmas and a couple of weeks ago I was summoned to the Préfecture for an interview and to have my fingerprints taken.

Anyway, to cut a long story short … “hooray” – ed … the new card turned up in the post this morning. A 10-year card with the right to work. That caused me to breathe a sigh of relief.

But it’s only valid for France though. I can’t up sticks and move to another country as I was able to do prior to Brexit. I don’t think that people realise just how much we have been affected by Brexit. And I’m sure that if they did, they wouldn’t care

trawler baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhat else turned up today – or, rather, turned up again today – were the fishing boats back in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

Not as many as there might have been though. The other day there were quite a few fishing around out there but yesterday there weren’t any at all out there. Today though, there were three of them out there fishing in the bay.

You can see two of them in this photo. One of them is away in the background close to the Brittany coast but another one of them is here in mid-channel.

In the background the church at Cancale is silhouetted in the sunshine on top of the cliffs. It’s been a while since we’ve seen that

trawlers english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were other trawlers and fishing boats out and about in the vicinity too, as well as those in the Bay.

The very big fishing boat is out there having a good trawl about this afternoon in the English Channel. You can tell that by the fact that it is going from west to east rather than from north to south or south to north. It’s been quite a while since we’ve seen them working so close inshore.

Over there in the background to the left is one of the marker lights on one of the rocks just off the archipelago that makes up the Ile de Chausey. And in case you are wondering, that marker light is about 11 or 12 kilometres away from where I’m standing

buoys baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd we can see what it’s doing this afternoon. I think that this is another mystery that might be cleared up.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that every now and again we see a few buoys appearing rather miraculously in the Bay just here off the coast at Donville les Bains and Breville-sur-Mer. They have appeared again today, coincidentally more-or-less exactly in line with where the trawler is dragging.

If that’s the case, then we know why those buoys are out there, marking the lanes for the trawler to drag.

Another thing that was resolved today was the question of my mega-tour of Central Europe. Everything is now written out and on-line and you can see the start of it HERE. The page that took me most of the time to write was THIS ONE.

It’s not quite complete because all of the photos aren’t on line as yet. Most of them are there but my eyes glazed over before I reached the end. I’ll do the rest of them tomorrow if I can find the time.

Some of the stuff needs rewriting as well, and I’ll be attending to that in due course.

It surprises me that I managed to do as much as I did today because I had another difficult day. Once more, I was up and about just after the first alarm at 06:00 and by the time the third alarm went off I was already at the computer working.

Another batch of photos from August 2019 were dealt with this morning. I’m still on the Little Big Horn battlefield but I’m now more or less where Captain Keogh was cut down. There’s still a long way to go on this battlefield before I can move on..

Having finished my day’s photos I had a few other things to do and then I attacked the Central Europe trip and worked at it until it was finished and on line, along with most of the photos.

There were the usual breaks too – for my hot chocolate and sourdough, for my lunch of course and then for my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith the weather being as nice as it was today I was expecting to see hordes of people out and about on the beach.

Accordingly I wandered off across the car park to the wall at the end where I could look down and see what was going on. And to my surprise there were hardly any people down there. I had to have a good look around until I could see anyone down there.

And I do have to say that I admire the yellow wellingtons. They added some ambience to the environment.

There were very few people around on the footpath so I could wander around at my leisure along the clifftop. And no bird of prey either. I don’t know where everyone has gone.

le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I reached the end of the path by the lighthouse, I could see Le Loup, the marker light that sits on top of the rock at the harbour entrance, winking at me.

From halfway along the path down to the car park a really good view of the light presented itself so I took a photograph of it, and then I pushed off along to the end of the headland.

We’ve seen what was going on at the end of the headland – the three fishing boats out there in the bay. But there was no-one disturbing the two buoys right close inshore where we saw that small boat the other day.

And no fishermen out there on the rocks either. They have probably had enough of spending all that time out there and catching nothing.

anakena hermes 1 nyx 3 notre dame du cap lihou aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe mystery of the pleasure boat in the chantier navale is solved today too.

The boat is down there on her blocks with Anakena, Hermes I and the lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou. She’s called Nyx III as you can see by the name on her stern. There was no-one there today obstructing the view. Those men are standing down there on the quayside this afternoon instead of on the stern platform.

Aztec Lady, the other big yacht that has graced the chantier navale for the last quite a while is still over there on the right-hand side. There’s a car parked alongside here and a couple of people who seem to be working on her, but they don’t seem to be particularly fired with enthusiasm.

trawler joly france ferry port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOver at the ferry port there has been some kind of activity over the last 24 hours.

One of the Joly France boats is still moored up at the ferry terminal even though the tide is out. So it looks as if she has some work to do in the very near future running out and back to the Ile de Chausey. Her sister ship is parked up in the inner harbour right now so they don’t seem to have all that much work on the go.

But interestingly, there’s one of the fishing boats tied up at the ferry terminal too. Usually they would me moored at the new pontoons in the inner harbour so I’m wondering what the issue must be that means that so many of them are just tied up outside at the mercy of the tide.

chausiais port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe other day, we saw a huge pile of freight loaded up at the side of the quayside waiting for someone to come along and cart it away.

Today, we’ll notice that it’s all been removed. A message had reached me this morning that Normandy Trader had been on her travels during the night last night so it looks as if she’s been into port at some point and loaded up to take it all away. I’m not sure if she brought in any freight but there wasn’t anything on the quayside waiting for a lorry.

But at least we know where Chausiais is today. She’s moored up down at the bottom at the loading bay this afternoon so I’m wondering if she’s going to be running some freight out to the Ile de Chausey on the evening tide.

We’ll have to see where she’s moored tomorrow.

cherry picker repairing aerial square pelley le pleville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut there was something interesting going on at the new building at the roundabout at the Square Pelley le Pleville, with that cherry picker .

From this distance I couldn’t really see what it was but back here, having blown up the photograph (which I can do despite modern anti-terrorism legislation) I can see that the cherry-picker has some men in it and they seem to be working on the mobile phone aerial on the roof.

Back in the apartment I had my mug of hot coffee and came back in here to carry on with the work. I knocked off with the Central Europe photos when it was time for guitar practice, and afterwards I had tea – a madras curry out of the freezer with rice followed by the last of the jam roly-poly. And what a success that was.

Somewhere along the way I’ve peeled, diced and blanched half of the carrots too, so it really was a productive day.
I’ll be glad to get into bed now and have a rest because I reckon that I’ve deserved it

Tuesday 13th April 2021 – I HAVE JUST …

… seen a most extraordinary football match.

When you see a score something like Caernarfon 1 Connah’s Quay Nomads 6, you’ll be thinking that Caernarfon were the victims of a right spannering from a team that is, shall we say, not renowned for its goal-scoring record.

And when you find that then Nomads took off their two leading attackers after about 70 minutes you’ll be as bewildered as everyone else.

For the first half the match was quite level – although the Nomads were 2-1 up, Caernarfon were still well in touch. But in the second half, two things happened.

Playing in midfield for the Nomads was a player called Neil Danns. He’s had plenty of experience in the English pyramid, playing for a couple of seasons in the English Premiership and on the international stage for Guyana.

He’s been out of the game for a while and when I first saw him a few weeks ago he looked distinctly sluggish, out of form and out of fitness. But whatever it was that Andy Morrison put in his half-time cup of tea, I’ll have a drink of it too. In the second half we were treated to a Neil Danns masterclass.

The second thing was a player called Johnny Hunt. He’s played on a much higher stage than this too but he’s also been out of the game for a while. He came on as a substitute after about an hour or so playing at left-back and although for the first ten minutes he looked well off the pace, he picked up remarkably rapidly.

He covered so much ground that his fellow full-back Danny Davies could push up forward into the attack and he scored two of the goals, simply because Caernarfon ran out of players to mark him.

If Danns and Hunt continue to improve at this rate, we could be in for something quite impressive.

But going back to the half-time cuppa that they gave to Neil Danns, had I had some of that I would have had a much better day today because me rising out of the bed at the first alarm was something rather like Dracula raising himself from the Dead. It was something very much like an ungainly stagger to my feet when the alarm went off.

After the medication, with nothing on the dictaphone from the night, I had a bash at the photos from August 2019. By the time that I’d finished I’d left the deep ravine near Last Stand Hill and I’m now sheltering with the pack train at the far end of the Little Big Horn battlefield.

As I said a few days ago, I’m going to be here at Little Big Horn for quite a while.

Having done the photos I spent some time revising my Welsh and then, armed with my hot chocolate and sourdough fruit bread, I went for my lesson. And to my surprise, it all went very well. I wasn’t expecting that.

We have three new students who have joined our class for the new term. We’re now no longer beginners but intermediates and these three people have some previous experience in the language. I noticed particularly that one of the new students was speaking Archaic Welsh, the kind that I picked up from my grandmother and from the elderly coach driver with whom I worked at one time.

After lunch I came in here to carry on with my work but I … errr …. went to sleep. And a proper sleep too. It was rather embarrassing seeing as I have so much to do.

But this led me up to my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs usual, the first thing that I did was to go over to the wall at the end of the car park here and look down on the beach to see what was going on down there.

The tide was quite a way out so there was plenty of room for people to be enjoying themselves and as the weather was reasonably warm and it was quite sunny, I was expecting to see the massed hordes of tourists down there sunning themselves.

But to my surprise I could have counted on the fingers of one hand the number of people down there this afternoon.

But anyway I pushed off along the path on my walk around the headland.

trawlers english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I’d been looking down on the beach I’d seen some movement in the water in the English Channel near Jersey so when I reached the high point of the path, I took a photo with the aim of cropping the photo and blowing it up (which I can do, despite modern anti-terrorist legislation) when I returned home.

What I was hoping to see was something like Normandy Trader or Thora, one of the little Jersey freighters coming over from the Channel Islands to take away the load of goods on the quayside on the loading bay. But instead I’ve captured a couple of they local trawlers heading for home.

And they are going to be having a long wait outside the harbour because the tide is well out and it will be a good while before it’s back in high enough for them to open the harbour gates.

roofing college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was on my way around, I had a look at the roofing job that they are performing in the College Malraux.

As I was strolling along the path I’d heard all kinds of knocking as if people were hitting things with hammers and I reckoned that it was coming from the roof of the College. The workmen were up there this afternoon and with the two bays on the roof that they had stripped off, they were covering the roof with new laths ready for the new slates.

If they can finish the woodwork quite quickly, it shouldn’t take too long to put the slates on. And who knows? They might even finish the roof some time this year. They have taken long enough to reach this point.

buoys pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen this scene a couple of times just recently.

There’s been this buoy-type of thing that’s been bobbing up and down just off the Pointe du Roc every now and again, and today, it’s been joined by another one. Yesterday, we saw one of the little fishing boats doing something or other just off the headland with its lines out.

It surely can’t be a coincidence that this other buoy has appeared in the vicinity of where the boat was moored yesterday, and I imagine that it would confirm my suspicions that they are indeed markers for lobster pots or the like. But I still think that it’s a rather strange place to leave some lobster pots – on the rocks off the headland just there.

To my surprise, after all of the action that was going o out there yesterday, there was absolutely nothing happening today. And so I pushed off along the path on top of the cliffs.

And to my surprise I wasn’t almost run down on the zebra crossing by ay motor vehicle today either.

anakena hermes 1 notre dame de cap lihou pleasure craft chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was however some action going on in the chantier navale this afternoon.

Having seen Lys Noir go back into the water the other day, Anakena, Hermes 1 and Notre Dame de Cap Lihou have now been joined by some kind of expensive pleasure craft. Unfortunately I’m not able to see the name of the boat because of the two guys standing on the platform at the stern obscuring it, so I’ll have to have anothr look tomorrow.

As an aside, Aztec Lady is still here in the chantier navale, out of shot on the far side to the right. There I was thinking when she first came into the place that she would only be there for a short period. She seems to have put down roots.

joly france ferry port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s been some activity going on over at the ferry terminal too.

Yesterday we had two Joly France boats tied up over there as well as a fishing boat. But today, the fishing boat has gone off to somewhere that I don’t know and we have just one of the Joly France boats over there today, the other one being moored in the inner harbour this afternoon.

The pile of freight is still at the quayside in the inner harbour waiting for someone to take it away but I cleared off back to my apartment and a nice hot coffee.

And then I came in here to make a start (or a finish) on my Central Europe trip and although I managed to do something, I fell asleep again and even missed my guitar practice.

However I did manage to wake up in time to have a quick tea of burger and pasta followed by jam roly poly and dashed in here to watch the football.

Tomorrow I have no plans whatsoever so I’m hoping for a good day’s work. But it’s much later now than it usually is and I’m still not in bed. I can see that I’ll need a mug of Andy Morrison’s half-time drink tomorrow if I’m to do any good at all.

It’s been a difficult couple of days just now. I’ve gone for 4 years being careful about what I do but over the last couple of days I’ve smashed a storage jar, a mug and today, one of my plates.

What with the big computer’s USB3 port, Caliburn’s door handle, the big NIKON D500‘s SD memory card slot and a few other things that I could mention, every thing that I seem to be touching is falling apart right now. I’m at the stage where I’m afraid to go to the toilet.

Saturday 10th April 2021 – WOO-HOO – I’M VACCINATED!

Yes, I’ve now had both my jabs and I have a Certificate to prove it too! At least I shall be in the forefront of the queue whenever normal service is resumed.

That’s not to say that I’m going to be perfectly safe. I’ve had the Pfizer vaccination so I’m now about 95% safe against current strains of the virus but there are no details about how I’ll be covered against any new strains and in any case I could carry the vaccine around and infect others.

So I still have to be careful whatever I do. I can’t throw caution to the wind.

Mind you, I did throw caution to the wind last night because what with one thing or another it was long after 01:00 when I finally went to bed.

Nevertheless I still managed to crawl out of my stinking pit a 06:00 when the first alarm went off. It just confirms my suspicions that the issues that I’ve been having about leaving my bed have nothing to do with any physical complaint.

First thing was to grab the medication and the second thing was to listen to the dictaphone to see if I’d been anywhere during the night. In fact I was doing something last night and I can’t remember what it was but I ended up in Canada. It was something to do with cars ad I can’t remember at all. I ended up at my niece’s. One of her daughters was there and feeling very happy with herself because she had taken some courses to improve her reading ability. The had studied these courses for 12 months and when I arrived there I found that she had received a Diploma award from the Open University for English speaking and she was absolutely delighted. And of course so was I because she deserves something like that.

There was time to have a whack at some of the photos from North America from August 2019 before going for a shower, and then I made a coffee in my thermal mug, grabbed some crackers and then leapt into Caliburn.

And I did too, because the door opened quite easily this morning which is very good news.

It was pouring with rain this morning so it was a pretty miserable drive up north towards Valognes. There was a lot of things to see on the way but the rain put a complete dampener on everything.

There was something that I stopped to see on my way north, because there was a good view from inside Caliburn.

Calvaire de Le Plessis-Lastelle Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis is the Calvaire de Le Plessis-Lastelle on the outskirts of the town of Le Plessis-Lastelle.

It’s formerly the site of a castle on a nice high ridge and was destroyed during a revolt against Duke William of Normandy in 1047. It was rebuilt later but fell into disrepair, although a traveller in 1835 remarked that it was still in reasonable condition.

In 1911 the locals transformed what remains of the site into a Calvary but during the fighting in Normandy in 1944 it was very badly damaged. A programme of restoration was finished in 1967 and this is how it appears today.

And that reminds me of the story that I heard about the renovation of the Calvary after the war. There was a call for designs for the Calvary but due to a misunderstanding on the telephone, someone sent in a drawing of George Custer on his horse.

hospital simone veil valognes Manche Normandy France Eric HallEventually, 15 minutes early I arrived at the hospital.

As you can see, it looks quite … errr … interesting from the front. It’s actually an old Benedictine Abbey and as it came into the possession of the State in 1803 one can easily imagine that it was a prize of the Revolution. It was registered as an ancient monument in 1937.

When the hospital was inaugurated in 1977 it didn’t have a particular name but it was opened by Simone Veil who was Minister of Health – the fist female to hold the post – at the time. When she died in 2018 the hospital was given her name.

hospital simone veil valognes Manche Normandy France Eric HallRound the back though, it’s totally different, with all kinds of modernisations having been undertaken.

When I came here before, the Vaccination Centre was under there but seeing it all in darkness and it being a Saturday morning, I was full of foreboding.

A sign on the door said “Vaccination Centre now moved to …. (another address in town)” so I had to leap back into Caliburn, type the address into the Satnave and let the Lady Who Lives In The Satnav plot me a course.

Eventually I arrived at the Sports Centre on the other side of town where I had my injection, was given my certificate and left to fester for 15 minutes before they threw me back out into the rain.

My route back was a different one from my way out so there were new things to see on the way home.

chateau de saint saveur le vicomte Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I came down the hill into Saint Saveur le Vicomte I was confronted by this beautiful building here. I had to do a U-turn and go back up the hill to find a good viewpoint where I could stick the camera out of Caliburn’s window.

This is the Chateau de Saint Saveur le Vicomte and it has a very interesting history because in view of its strategic position on a hill at the side of a river that leads into the interior, the Norse raiders built a fort there, according to one local historian.

Whatever was on there was destroyed during the revolt against Duke William. A subsequent castle here was an English stronghold in the Hundred Years War.

It later became a hospital, an orphanage and later a prison. Badly damaged by Allied Bombing in 1944, it’s now the subject of a restoration project financed by the proceeds of the national lottery.

On the way home I called in at Coutances and fuelled up Caliburn and then went to the LeClerc and LIDL here. They are much bigger than the ones in Granville and even though there’s more stuff in there, there isn’t anything extra that suited me. I did by some sweet potatoes though as they were cheap, and I’ll have to think of something to do with them.

Back here I made a sandwich for lunch and then came in here to carry on work but unfortunately I crashed out. And crashed out good and properly too, for about an hour and a half.

And when I awoke I had a sore arm again and I was also freezing, freezing cold. So much so that having turned off the heating about a week ago, I tuned it on again full-blast.

When I eventually recovered, I went outside for a walk where I bumped into Pierre the skipper of Spirit of Conrad. he told me that the other week the boat was simply in the chantier navale simply for an annual service.

But all of his tours this year are cancelled yet again. He’s thinking about doing trips up the Brittany coast whenever the situation relaxes.

Finding that the battery was yet again flat in the NIKON D500 I came back in for the NIKON D3000 and then I went back outsode again for my afternoon walk in the wind and rain.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe whole of the town around here was totally deserted which was no surprise given the weather. There wasn’t a soul on the beach at all.

That’s something of a surprise of course because we’ve seen people down there in all kinds of weather, even swimming in it. But not today. I suppose that it was just too much for them today.

Instead, I trudged off along the path towards the end of the headland in my lonely solitude, and also in the rainstorm too. It must have been raining quite a lot over the last 18 hours because the path was flooded yet again and I had to pick my way gingerly around the puddles as I wended my weary way.

commodore goodwill english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom the elevated part at the far end I could see something moving right out there in the English Channel so I took a photograph of it, regretting that I didn’t have the big NIKON D500 with me.

Of course it’s much too far out for me to be able to identify it but enhancing the image considerably I could make out some rough idea of its colours. That seems to indicate that its a Condor Ferries boat.

Its silhouette seems to match that of Commodore Goodwill, the Ro-Ro ferry that does the shuttle between St Malo, St Helier in Jersey and St Peter Port in Guernsey.

Ro-Ro stands for “roll on, roll off” and should not be confused with ferries such as Herald of Free Enterprise and Estonia which were Ro-Ro-Ro ferries, which stands for “roll on, roll over, roll off”.

fishing boat english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was more movement out to sea too, but this time so much closer to home.

This is one of the little shellfish boats that worked the beds off the Ile de Chausey, I reckon. She’s on her way home to port in Granville, even if the tide isn’t far enough in for the harbour gates to be open.

Off the lawn and down the path to car park I went, encountering a family whose members were as surprised to see me as I was to see them.

Across the car park to the end of the headland to see what was going on. And the answer to that was nothing at all. So picking my way through the puddles I walked down the path on the other side of the headland.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was very little going on in the harbour this afternoon.

The tide was still far out so the outer harbour was quite dry. But we can see all of the tyre tracks of the various heavy vehicles that have been working in there over the last month when we had the very low tides. Their work doesn’t seem to be finished so I wonder when, or maybe if, we will ever see them back working here again.

The fishing boat that we saw earlier is now in the harbour, here on the left, and it’s looking rather bewildered as the skipper tries to think of what to do next with it. And unfortunately she’s still too far out for me to be able to read her name on the visor over the cabin.

anakena hermes 1 notre dame de cap lihou aztec lady Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere is still no change in occupancy in the chantier navale today.

We have, from left to right, Anakena, Hermes I and the lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou. In the background is Aztec Lady, with a pile of small assorted yachts on the other side of the wall.

Unfortunately I couldn’t stay around to count them because I had to rush on home for the football this afternoon. TNS were playing away to Bala Town.

What astonished me about this match was that the two best players in the Welsh Premier League, Greg Draper and Henry Jones, managed just 28 minutes on the field between them.

Even more strangely was that the best player on the field, TNS’s Ben Clark, was substituted after 60 minutes of the game, with no sign of an injury. He’d run the Bala defence ragged and had a hand in TNS’s goal, but after he left the field the spark went out of the TNS side and Bala had several good chances to equalise, although they were unable to convert them.

Tea was out of a tin seeing as it’s Saturday and now that I’ve finished my notes I’m off to make some sourdough dough ready for baking tomorrow. And then I’m off to bed for a nice lie in.

And I deserve it too.

Friday 9th April 2021 – I’VE HAD SOMETHING …

… of a bad day today and I really don’t know why.

It all went wrong during the night when I spent most of it wracked with attacks of cramp and having to get up and walk about to ease it off. They say that the medication that I’m taking takes its time to work but I was expecting it to work quicker than this.

As a result I missed the first alarm this morning. Well, I didn’t because I did actually wake up, but I must have gone back to sleep because the second alarm brought me round properly. And then I spent the rest of the day fighting off the impulse to go back to sleep, sometimes unsuccessfully.

After the medication I went to listen to the dictaphone to hear if, despite the disturbed night, I’d been on any travels anywhere during the night. There was a train that had pulled into a platform but had stopped short to allow a pilot engine to be coupled up with I so consequently getting to it was a bi of a problem. People were having to leap over some adjacent track and a bay platform in order to get to the train. 1 passenger made it and the crew of the train made it over with the help of someone. Then another passenger tried it. It looks as if he made it OK and he got into the train but apparently he hadn’t. Then a 4th couple tried it and made quite a mess of it all. Then the train took off and it was all swaying around quite dramatically. 1 person who had only just caught it was hanging on for dear life in between 2 carriages and it wasn’t long before the whole thing was derailed. That was when I had a wicked attack of cramp that forced me to get up and walk about.

Somewhere along here was the story of a guy and his 2 acquaintances who were rustlers and were knocking everyone off. They’d already had 2 off this particular train that we were talking about and I don’t know how many more they were intending to have before they did some real damage.

For much of the morning I’ve been working on the photos from August 2019. I’ve dealt with another big pile of those today and I’m well ahead today. I’m now at the site of the ghost town of Kooi north-east of Sheridan in Wyoming heading towards the site of the Battlefield of the Little Big Horn

As well as that, I’ve done some of my arrears of my trip around Central Europe and some of my revision for my Welsh course but unfortunately I fell asleep in the middle of that and ended up dropping my papers all over the floor.

All in all, it’s not been a very successful day.

There was the afternoon walk around the headland, rather later than usual today, what with one thing and another.

man leaning on rock beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut time doesn’t seem to be an issue with this guy here on the beach.

The first thing that I did as usual was to stick my head over the wall at the end of the car park here to see what was going on down on the beach. There wasn’t much beach for anything to be going on this afternoon but the guy here managed to find a place to rest, leaning on a rather large rock as he admires the view of whatever was going out at sea.

But with the tide coming in quite rapidly, he’s chosen a good spot, at the foot of the steps up to the Rue du Nord to which he could make a hasty retreat without being cut off anywhere by the tide

Having seen the beach, I headed off along the top of the cliff towards the headland.

philcathane trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was an endless stream of trawlers heading out of the fishing port this afternoon. One after the other they were coming around the headland.

There could have been any one of them that I could have photographed but the one that caught my eye particularly was the trawler Philcathane, on her way out to the fishing grounds in the English Channel.

We’ve had the opportunity to examine her in the past when she’s been up on blocks in the chantier navale for a while and ONE NIGHT LAST AUGUST when she was sailing around the harbour late at night.

So leaving the other trawlers to their fate, I carried on with my walk along the headland towards the end of the Pointe du Roc

bird of prey pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOur friendly neighbourhood bird of prey is out there again this afternoon.

And I’m glad that it was too. With having seen people on the beach and people i.e. trawlers out at sea, all we needed now to make up our trilogy is is SOMETHING IN THE AIR, as Thunderclap Newman might have said.

You might have noticed in the photographs so far that we have really thick ten-tenths cloud which means that it’s impossible for us to see anything in the way of airliners and there was nothing going on in the way of light aircraft going to and from the airport. A bird of prey is just as good a substitute for an aeroplane in these circumstances.

roofing college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was here I had a good look across the sports field to see how they were getting on with the roofing job on the College Malraux.

And they seem to have put a spurt on just recently. They’ve been working from right to left on this side of the roof so they have now done over half of the roof on this side. Give them another six months and they might actually finish the job. They’ve been at it long enough.

What’s surprising though is that they seem to have found enough scaffolding to go all the way down that side. When they were doing the other side they only had enough to do half of it and they had to dismantle it and move it down the side halfway through the job.

man fishing from rocks pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs well as the man on the beach, there was another man out there this afternoon down on the rocks.

My journey from the lawn takes me down the path by the war memorial to the Resistance and then across the car park. From there I can go down to the end of the headland and see what’s going on.

Having seen two guys the other day fishing off the rocks at the headland, they were both there this afternoon but today they were fishing off different rocks.

And once again, they didn’t actually catch anything while I was there. I’m at the stage where I’ve given up expecting to see someone haul a sea-bass out of the water, bad-tempered or not.

joly france english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was taking the photograph of Philcathane I’d noticed something else out to sea heading our way from the Ile de Chausey.

Having seen Chausiais coming back from the Ile de Chausey yesterday, today it’s the turn of one of the Joly France boats to make an appearance on these pages. We’ve seen both of them tied up at the ferry terminal and in the inner harbour and it’s been a long time since we’ve actually seen one riding the waves.

As she came on over across from the Ile de Chausey I wandered off along the path along the south side of the headland towards the viewpoint overlooking the harbour to see what was going on down there this afternoon.

anakena hermes 1 notre dame de cap lihou chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd we have a change of occupancy in the chantier navale this afternoon

Yesterday we saw the portable boat lift loitering around above Lys Noir as if it was about to pick up the boat and take her to the water. Today, we can see that Lys Noir has now gone from the chantier navale back into the water.

That leaves us with just Anakena, Hermes 1, the lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou and, out of shot, Aztec Lady in there right now, with plenty of room for a couple of other boats to come in.

There’s plenty of activity going on at Anakena though right now with a couple of people standing on her deck talking. She is the boat that was marooned here when all of the ports in Northern Europe closed their doors to foreign boats. With Covid easing off now in several countries, it may be that she’s getting ready to leave port and continue with her journey.

Further on along the path I could see the boats that are still tied up at the fish processing plant.

coelacanthe tiberiade port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallTwo of our favourite trawlers are moored to the quayside over there. They haven’t followed all of the rest out to sea this afternoon.

It’s not easy to tell which one is Coelacanthe and which one is Tiberiade when you see them on their own, but when you see them together like this you’ll see that Coelacanthe is slightly bigger and has the raised sides of the hull to protect the bridge doors.

The inner harbour was fairly empty this afternoon. Normandy Trader has left the port, probably on the early morning tide today, so I wandered off home for my hot cup of coffee and try to summon up the energy to carry on with what I had been doing.

As usual I knocked off for my guitar practice and then went for tea. I had a curry out of the freezer tonight with some rice and veg, followed by some more jam roly-poly.

But I imagine that I’m going to have some nightmares tonight because the video that I was watching while I was eating was one of these spaghetti westerns in Italian where right in front of my eyes we had a real genuine scalping with plenty of blood followed by someone being devoured alive by lizards and bats and the like.

Not the kind of thing that I enjoy watching at any time, especially when I’m eating my tea.

Now I’m off to bed. I don’t know where the time goes. Tomorrow I’m off for my second vaccination for Covid. It’s a long way to go, and an early start so I need to be on good form for that. Here’s hoping that I’ll have a better night than last night.

Tuesday 6th April 2021 – JUST IN CASE …

trawler heading out to sea english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… you are wondering what the weather was like this afternoon when I was out for my afternoon walk, this photograph will tell you everything that you will need to know.

You can see the white caps on the waves as this trawler batters its way out to sea. Th wind from the north-east was probably about as strong as it has been for the last few weeks and despite, or maybe even because of the bright blue sky with barely a cloud visible, it was absolutely freezing out there. I was dressed in my winter clothing and I was absolutely perishing out there.

But let us turn to this morning, such as there was of it because having broken the habits of a lifetime and spent a Bank Holiday working, and with no Welsh lesson this morning, I had a lie-in instead.

And it was necessary too because it wasn’t until about 04:30 this morning that I felt myself dropping off to sleep.

Juqt for a change I’m not going to tell you what time I awoke because it’s rather embarrassing. But there was plenty of time to go off on a nocturnal ramble. So first thing after the medication was to transcribe the dictaphone notes from yesterday and today.

Yesterday’s are now on line for those of you who missed them but as for this morning I was at work in a new office somewhere. We were talking about the training and so on that we were getting. Someone was talking about how in a previous job she had to answer the phone and it had taken her 6 months to learn how the switchboard operated. I explained about my job where i worked once and just put at the switchboard and told how to work it out. They all looked astonished and asked why. I explained that in that job you just basically did everything and they wouldn’t wait a minute on saving a penny to make sure that the fewest number of people did the most amount of work there. The work drifted on, talking, and I was watching a video of some people assembling some things. They were using soldering, electric TIG welding and a few other bits and pieces to do these jobs. I was soldering mine and I wasn’t much good at it. I thought that I’d have a go at TIG welding one of these days when I had a moment. This conversation was going on and this guy looked up and saw me soldering. He said “God! Soldering! Did you do that?” I replied “soldering? That’s nothing! Just wait until I bring a plasma cutter in here!”

After that I went for lunch – porridge and toast which was very nice, followed by hot chocolate again. And then I attacked the radio programme from yesterday. Now that’s corrected and all runs together pretty well. In fact it’s even better than it was before.

The rest of the day, such as it was, was spent dealing with the photos of August 2019. I’ve dealt with the photos that I should have done yesterday and half of today’s batch. I’ll hopefully do the other half tomorrow along with tomorrow’s batch.

Right now, I’ve been to the site of the Waggon Box Fight in Story, Wyoming, and I’m now pulling up at the gates of Fort Phil Kearny, the scene of a disaster that befell the US Army that was second only to the humiliation of Little Big Horn.

There was a break for my afternoon walk of course, and I actually made it outside on time too.

people on the beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst thing to do was to look over the wall at the end of the car park down onto the beach below and to see what there was going on.

Actually, today there wasn’t all that much beach to look down upon. The tide was quite well in just now. Nevertheless there were a few people down there sitting on the rocks. But pretty soon there will be one person less down there because someone was making for the steps that lead back up to the Rue du Nord. He’s clearly had enough of the weather this afternoon.

And it won’t be long before the other people join him in climbing up to the street because the tide will be there in a very short space of time and they will need to make good their escape.

jersey english channel islands Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDespite the bitter, wild wind this afternoon the views out to sea were terrific.

Away in the distance we could see the island of Jersey quite clearly. And it’s been a good few weeks since we’ve seen that. It wasn’t so clear that we could see the buildings of St Helier, something that we can do every now and again. We’ll need a better day than this in order to do that.

Once more, there were very few people around this afternoon on the path so I made my way quite freely along the top of the cliffs without anyone else getting in my way – quite a novelty for just recently.

trawler le coelacanthe english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I was going about my business along the path on top of the cliffs, around the corner of the headland another trawler came a-chugging.

From my viewpoint I could see that it was one of he trawlers whom we know very well, and on enlarging the photo when I returned home later I discovered that it’s our old friend Le Coelacanthe

In fact there were several trawlers heading out to sea today, not just the two that we have seen so far. It seems that the Easter break is now over and with the ink now dry on the agreement to prolong access to the Channel Islands fisheries for the local boats, they are all heading out that way to take advantage of the situation.

man sitting on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRound on the other side of the headland we were in the shadow of the wind so it was reasonably warn there. This gave one or two people the opportunity to sit down on a bench and admire the view.

Not that there was very much of a view to admire right now because all of the trawlers that had set out from port had passed the headland and were now well out at sea, hidden from view by the headland. There wasn’t anything else going on in the bay and while the Brittany coast and Cancale might look really nice, it’s not exactly riveting over there.

To such an extent that I pushed off along the headland path towards the viewpoint over the port.

anakena hermes 1 lys noir notre dame de cap lihou aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the viewpoint I had a good look down to the chantier navale to see what was going on down there this afternoon.

And we have a change in occupancy down there today.Hermes I, which I suspected was being prepared to go back into the water is still there up on her blocks along with Anakena, Lys Noir and Aztec Lady but they have now been joined by Notre Dame de Cap Lihou, the local lifeboat.

While I was watching her they were revving up her engine and two guys down there were observing the smoke that was coming out of her exhaust. Another couple of men were spraying her hull with a pressure washer while a couple more were examining a part of her superstructure.

So what’s the matter with her then?

crane ferry port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was even more activity going on over at the ferry port.

Chausiais is over there right up at the end of the quay but there are none of the Joly France boats were there. However the red crane is partially extended so it must be doing something interesting.

Just for a change just recently I wasn’t overflown by any aeroplanes this afternoon. I was able to come home quite tranquilly for my hot coffee and to carry on my work editing the photographs.

That took me up to guitar time where I had an enjoyable time working out the chords to Led Zeppelin’s “The Battle of Evermore”. Of course I don’t have Sandy Denny here to help me, but this would be just the kind of thing that Castor would be able to do were she here.

Tea was a stuffed pepper with rice followed by a slice of my jam roly-poly and soya coconut dessert. And I’ll tell you something, and that is that the roly-poly is cooked to perfection and it tasted absolutely delicious. That was a good idea for dessert, that was.

Now that my notes are written, I’m off to bed. The alarm is set for the morning and I’m due to restart work properly so I need to have a really good sleep and be on top form.

That’s not going to be easy because if I can crash out like I did today after all of this sleep and a late start to the day, I can certainly do that with a 06:00 start, can’t I?

Monday 5th April 2021 – IT’S A BANK HOLIDAY …

… today so I celebrated by spending the morning in bed.

That’s right – an entire morning. Well, almost, because while I didn’t manage midday, it wasn’t until about 11:00 that my feet saw the light of day. And I deserved it too after all of my recent exertions.

It goes without saying that it was “somewhat later than usual” when I started on the radio programme. And as I write these notes it’s still not finished. It actually was at one point but when I listened to it afterwards I found a mistake in the editing and I will have to put that right before it’s ready for broadcast.

There were the usual interruptions of course. At lunchtime I had porridge, hot cross buns (the last of this present batch) and a mug of nice piping hot chocolate, followed by a couple of clementines.

And then I had my afternoon walk around the headland.

car park place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd having seen the hordes and multitudes of people thronging the car park outside here yesterday, I was taken completely by surprise by the fact that there wasn’t a single person (and not a married person either) wandering around there this afternoon.

In fact, the whole place looked like a ghost town this afternoon. On the path around the headland today I could have counted on one hand the number of people whom I saw on the path this afternoon.

So much so that as soon as I can find a spare moment I’m going to be checking the new quarantine regulations to find out what they are. I don’t want to leave it until I see a policemen to find out that I’m in breach of any new temporary law.

people on beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were some people out and about though, especially down here on the beach at the bottom of the Place d’Armes.

The tide might be well in right now but a little kid doesn’t need a great deal of beach in order to have a great deal of fun, but it does make me wonder if they are aware of how quickly the tide comes in here, because they risk being cut off from the steps at the Rue du Nord and won’t be able to escape from the water.

Bit I needed to escape from the car park here so I headed off along the path on the top of the cliffs. We had a wicked wind and it was really cold although when I was in a wind shadow it was actually quite warm. But we’re not likely to see very much of that as long as this wind keeps up.

With absolutely nothing at all going on out at sea today and nothing to see at the end of the headland I pushed off along the path on top of the cliffs on the other side of the headland.

anakena hermes 1 lys noir chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the viewpoint overlooking the port, I could see down into the chantier navale to see what was going on down there.

There wasn’t any change in occupant today – still the same four boats, but I was more interested in what was going on with Anakena, Lys Noir and Hermes I. There’s a van down there and a few workmen doing a few things despite it being a Bank Holiday, but what is different today is that all of the masking tape and paper has now been removed from Hermes I.

She’s looking quite beautiful and resplendent in her new coat of paint, all bright and shiny. Ordinarily I would say that it won’t be long before she’s going back into the water, but I’ve not had very much luck in predicting the arrival and departure of boats from the chantier navale, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

fishing boat refrigerated lorry fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFurther down along the footpath I could see over into the outer harbour by the Fish Processing Plant.

Whilst most of the fishing boats are still tied up in the inner harbour, there’s a refrigerated lorry parked up by the loading bay at the Fish Processing Plant. They must be expecting a few fishing boats to be arriving soon with a pile of shellfish to take away. I don’t think that there will be an awful lot of shellfish on board the small boat that is tied up at the quayside just there.

But with no other boat down there just now and not having seen any while I was looking out to sea earlier, I think that the driver of the lorry is going to be in for a long wait.

Airbus A330-302 N826NW english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was out there looking over the harbour I was once more overflown by a rather large aeroplane and I wondered what she was doing up there.

She’s actually an Airbus A330-302 owned by Delta Airlines, registration number N826NW and she took off from Paris Charles de Gaulle about 37 or so minutes ago. She’s Delta Airlines flight DL85 and she’s on her way across the Atlantic to Atlanta in Georgia.

She flew over my head at a height of 36,000 feet and a ground speed of 423 knots on a heading 270°.

At least it proves that despite all of the Covid regulations there are still plenty of long-distance flights going across the Atlantic. They aren’t ever going to prevent this virus from spreading, are they?

triumph tr3a boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving gone for weeks without seeing a single old or interesting vehicle we’ve now had two in three days.

As I was in the Boulevard Vaufleury on my way back to the apartment I was passed by a rather elderly Triumph TR3A passing in the other direction. And you can tell that it’s a TR3A and not a TR3 in that it has the full-width radiator grill and several other small modifications

The TR3As were built from 1957 to 1962 and were the cars to which I aspired when I was a young teenager, being a much more realistic choice than a Jaguar XK140.

That was really the last interruption of my walk and I was able to make it back home without any further ado.

Due to my late awakening this morning, I missed my hour on the guitar and also my evening meal which was a shame, but it can’t be helped I’ve done all that I intend to do and what I haven’t done I’ll do tomorrow, including the dictaphone, for there’s a pile of stuff on there.

And now that I’ve attended to that, I can finally post the details of where I went during the night. We had an occasion where Mick Matthews was driving a lorry. He wasn’t very happy so he told me a few things about this company and made it pretty clear that he wanted someone to take the matter further. He had to drive this lorry and they wanted a couple of repairs doing on it and he didn’t want to do them at all. They were cajoling him and pushing him into getting this lorry fixed so he told me about it and I told a few people about it. As a result another lorry was raided. I was somehow attached to this investigation. We came across a whole pile of faults with this vehicle, the operation of it. Basically an illegal compartment had been manufactured to go inside one of the trailers for contraband to be smuggled. The police had a big file on this. They had the owner and the manager, the company that had made the panel and a few other people and were preparing a case to bring to Court. I asked them about Mick Matthews. They said that once the matter had been dealt with the others, he would be unfortunately brought into Court but they would make it pretty clear to the Judge that there had been as much co-operation as possible from him. I ended up in an office with a couple of other police inspectors. I was holding a file which I offered to one of the others and asked “is this anything to do with you”? He just snarled and took it off me anyway so I just wandered back to the entrance door of the office where I’d come in.

Later on, one of the serving wenches in THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR was talking to me. I was sitting at a table waiting for all my friends to come down. One or two other people came down and sat at my table which was a bit disappointing. It was a hell of a mess and I had my elbows in all of the grease spilt on the table. The waitress cleared the table and looked at me and sighed when she saw my elbows and I tried to clean them as best as I could. Then everyone else came down so I nipped over to another table and we all sat there. There was a rumpus coming up from the far side and it was the fat woman Vera who was making a scene again. She had done this at every single meal so far. She was always going to create a scene. We were having our meal and one of the girls said that she had to fetch a bottle of water so I said that i’d go with her as it was going dark. We dashed off outside and she was showing me the torch that she had received as a gift, a little thing that clipped onto the keyring with a button-cell battery and I said “I have mine as well and they are great”. We walked down to pick up her bottle of water and they weren’t as good as the bottles that we had on the first trip because they were coconut water and they were so much better. She said that she needed something from her room, and could I go and fetch it for her? It was on the top floor so I set off up this spiral staircase. There were all kinds of overhanging bits and you had to be careful with your head. She was following me and asked me if I was OK. I said “yes, but I’d be better if you could hold these 2 things for me”. I gave her the 2 things that I was holding and carried on up. When I reached the top to go into her room you had to do some scramble through this really tiny aperture. It was a really difficult thing to do. I thought “I’m not going to get through this aperture”. I had a look and there was an opening a little bigger above my head. That meant climbing up this wooden framework that didn’t look particularly safe to me. I thought “how do people on the top floor manage to do this”? She said “don’t worry. I can go there because I need to get my accounts as well”. I said “I’m here now so I might as well work this out and have a go getting up through there”. She asked “you have a passport, don’t you”? I replied “yes”. She said “yes, a passport”. It was the way that she was saying it that was so strange that I couldn’t understand the implications of what she was trying to say about this passport.

Thursday 1st April 2021 – THERE’S A TIME …

airing fishing nets rue du port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… for fishing, and a time for mending the nets, as we are so often told.

It beats me what these guys have been doing but they have a net stretched out here in a V shape, all rolled up as if they are about to fold it back up. There’s quite a crowd of people around them watching, and also a pile of other nets in the big plastic boxes there.

Of course, with it being a big, busy fishing port, this is the kind of thing that you expect – fishing nets and other fishing accessories all over the place. And it’s a surprise to me that they can keep the place so tidy. Maybe I should ask a few fishermen to come round and help me tidy up this place as it’s rather a mess right now.

anakena hermes 1 lys noir aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that’s important in this port is the presence of charter yachts and also the chantier navale to keep everything in proper order.

Over the past few months we’ve been keeping an eye on what’s been going on in there and this morning on my way back to the shops I could see that there’s a new occupier in the blocks where Spirit of Conrad was laid up for a while.

That boat that’s there today is Anakena, the boat that’s been parked up for a year in the inner harbour.

But talking about this morning, I almost missed the first alarm this morning I don’t know why but I almost ended up going back to bed again. Nevertheless I pulled myself together and scrambled out of bed.

After the medication I came back in here and had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night.

There was a group of us playing after some kind of meeting. While we were playing we’d heard that a famous folk performer had died. I was waiting at the side of the stage waiting to go on to interrupt their act and announce the news to everyone but one of the musicians came over to me and asked me what I was doing. I explained and he replied “you’ll have to wait until 18:30 to say that. We’re booked until 18:30”. I replied “that’s OK as long as you announce it”. “I’m not announcing anything. You’ll have to wait until 18:30”. Later on as they were going off stage he came over to me and started to be a bit aggressive. I just grabbed him by the hands and waltzed around with him for a bit. It didn’t seem to have the desired effect to calm him down or anything like that. I thought to myself that there’s absolutely no reason why there should be this ungracious behaviour – none at all.

Having done that I had a go at the photos from August 2019 and another pile of those bit the dust. I’m now just coming up to the border between South Dakota and Wyoming on my way to the battlegrounds of the Powder River Country.

A shower was next on the agenda and then I headed out for town.

school of masonry ramparts rampe du monte à regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMy route took me down the steps by the Rampe du Monte à Regret where they are repairing the walls.

This is the first time that I’ve taken a photo from this position. As you can see, they have put up a banner to announce that this is a school of masonry.

There were a couple of students on there working. One of them was wetting the wall and the joints by pouring water over them from a container. I explained that the best way to do it is with a big, thick paintbrush. That always worked for me when I was doing THE POINTING ON MY HOUS back all those years ago.

First stop was the Post Office. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, Rosemary accompanied me on the first part of my journey across the Atlantic and left when we reached Kangerlussuak. When I’d seen her last summer I’d given her the photos that I’d edited up to date but there were still a couple of thousand that I’ve done since.

The other day I burnt them onto a DVD and this morning I packed in into an envelope and posted it off to her. She should receive it in a couple of days and I hope that she likes it.

graffiti cinema select boulevard de hauteserve Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve been seeing all of the weird graffiti that’s been appearing around the town over the last few months.

On the way from the Post Office to the shops I passed by the Select Cinema which is of course closed for the Duration. And on the windows is pasted more of the graffiti that we’ve been seeing around the town. One could actually say that the graffiti artist has gone to town with his work.

At LIDL I spent more than usual, because I’d run out of fruit. And there were also a few extra things – like some pots of grow-your-own herbs. The had quite a few varieties so I bought some Aneth and some Basil. I would have bought some coriander as well but they had run out.

Here’s hoping that they have some more next week.

On the way home I called at the Salle Herel and the vaccination centre, which was now open for business. I asked about having my second vaccine there instead of having to drive all the way to Valognes. In principle I could but they had no vacancy until 26th April and that would be too late, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

It’s important that I respect the manufacturer’s instructions because when the borders start to reopen, some countries, Canada for example, will only accept people who have been vaccinated according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Anyone else won’t be admitted.

Back in the apartment I made some hot chocolate and cut myself a slice of sourdough and then came into the office to do some work but unfortunately I crashed out yet again. It was 14:10 when I hauled myself out of my chair to go and have lunch. This is getting rather depressing.

After lunch I made a start on the page that I’m working on from my trip around Central Europe. I wrote the text for a few more photos but at this rate it’s going to be another month or so before I finish it. No chance of doing it by Friday as I wanted.

There was the break for me to go out for my afternoon walk. On time as well for a change.

kids playing games on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst port of call when I went out was to go to the wall at the end of the car park and look over to see if there was anything going on on the beach.

There were some people walking about, paddling in the sea but they were of little interest today. I had more interest in the group of kids playing rounders or whatever. That seems to be a strange thing to do – not the playing of the game but the fact that they were doing it on the beach when there are facilities at the Gymnase Jean Galfione where they can play games to their hearts’ content.

From the car park I wandered off down the path along the top of the cliffs. There were quite a few people out there this afternoon which was no surprise because it was really warm today. I’d even opened one of the windows in the apartment.

monument to the resistance le loup pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the end of the path and on the lawn I came across the Monument to the Resistance.

There’s a noticeboard there to remind us of a group of about 20 local soldiers of the Resistance who sailed to the Channel Islands on various trawlers as the Germans swarmed into the area in June 1940. They fought for the Free French in Africa, the Middle East and Italy. Several of them lost their lives.

The path across the lawn too k me across the car park and down to the headland. There was nothing going on there or out at sea. I can’t think of where the fishing boats might be. Instead, I continued along the path down the south side.

trawler aground port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown the footpath I came to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour where we were treated to another unusual sight.

Well, it might have been unusual a few months ago but just recently we have been seeing rather a lot of fishing boats tied up in the outer tidal harbour and left to settle on the silt when the tide goes out. And here’s another one – and it’s one of the bigger fishing boats too.

It’s a catamaran hull so it’ll settle down comfortably without careening to one side. It’s what they call “NAABSA”, or Not Always Afloat But Safely Aground

It’s quite a surprise to see one of these moored up in the dry, and you can understand where the phrase “high and dry” comes from when you see something like this.

men working in port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThese men down here in the harbour caught my eye as well.

Over the last couple of days we’ve seen the diggers in there digging the holes and laying the concrete slab s for the new mooring chains. The diggers weren’t actually out there on the silt this afternoon so I reckoned that they must have run out of work for the moment.

That would mean that the guys here today are surveying the harbour to work out the siting of the next row of mooring cables. if you look to the right-hand side of the photo you’ll see a marker of some description that they seem to have left in the silt. Presumable that’s where one of the concrete blocks will go for the next row of mooring chains.

anakena hermes 1 lys noir chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little earlier, you will have seen a photo of the chantier Navale with the new arrival, Anakena up on the blocks there.

From my little viewpoint overlooking the harbour I can see down into the chantier navale and we can have a better view of the proceedings.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that there’s a little story behind the Anakena. She came into port on her way to Scandinavia a year ago but was caught up when those countries closed up their borders to foreigners. The boat was stranded here with its family owners aboard and for the first few months at least the children were studying remotely via the internet.

Since then I’ve not seen any news of them and I’ve no idea what has become of them since then. But it looks as if they are preparing to move on elsewhere.

digger on lorry port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallJust now I mentioned that the diggers weren’t out there in the harbour this afternoon.

Both of them are over there on the concrete by the fish processing plant. One of them is having a friendly chat with the tractor that pulls the trailer that one of the fishing boats uses, but the second one is behind them on a low loader trainer. Does this mean that their work is over and that they are heading home?

Talking of heading home, I was going that way too. There wasn’t anything else going on out there.

Back here I made myself a coffee, watered the herbs that I’d bought earlier, and then came in here to carry on with the work that I’d been doing.

At 18:00 I knocked off and had a session on the guitar and then went for tea. Tonight it was stuffed peppers (I’d bought some peppers today) with rice, followed by apple crumble and the last of the soya stuff. Tomorrow I’ll be making some custard.

It’s bed time now and seeing as it’s a Bank Holiday tomorrow there is no alarm. and that suits me fine. I’m ready for a good break for a few days without an alarm. A couple of good lie-ins will do me some good.

Wednesday 31st March 2021 – THIS WAS ANOTHER …

… day when I missed most of the afternoon due to crashing out on the chair in the office. And I’ve no idea why because I had the usual amount of sleep last night and I have to say that I slept quite soundly until the alarm went off.

When the first alarm went off, I leapt out of bed quite rapidly too, so it can’t have been a lack of sleep.

First task today after the medication was to begin the photos for August 2019. The actual preparation took a great deal of time before I could actually start on the editing. And then I couldn’t find the dashcam files for my trip around northern USA.

That actually wasn’t as desperate as it might sound because it led to a sorting out of the files on the big back-up disk. There were plenty of duplicate files and in the end by the time I’d had them properly filed (which took much more time than you might think), the amount of free space on the drive had increased to 1.18TB.

So finally having set up all of the base files and the like and created the directories I set off to start the editing. I was intending to do 30 before I stopped and I stuck at it until it was done, even if it meant a rather late lunch.

There were quite a few photos that would be of interest to various Groups on my Social Network so I had to prepare them for publication, and I also had A LOT OF FUN WITH A FEW OF THEM.

By the time that I knocked off for lunch, I was standing in the Mount Moriah Cemetery in Deadwood, South Dakota. That’s the last resting place of all kinds of famous people such as Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane, as well as a few other people whose deaths WERE EXTREMELY INTERESTING.

After lunch I came back into the office to carry on with my work but to my surprise I crashed out. And it was a long, deep crashing out as well, right up to the point where I missed my afternoon walk. I was about an hour late setting out for my trip around the headland.

people swimming in water beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen you see these people here in the water you are probably thinking that we were having a nice warm day.

In fact it was rather warm and there was little wind, but I wouldn’t have said that it was warm enough for people to take to the waters. You wouldn’t catch me going into the water at this time of year, but then again, I’m pretty well-known for being nesh when it comes to things like this.

And so having looked up and down the beach for anything interesting and finding nothing at all going on, I cleared off along the path on the top of the cliffs towards the headland.

marker light english channel ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn the previous photo you couldn’t see the mist that was shrouding the area this afternoon, but here it is.

You can just about make out the Ile de Chausey on the horizon over there but you couldn’t see very much further beyond that. There was no chance of seeing any boats or anything else further out there, and the Brittany coast was quite obscured.

In the foreground is a marker light for the rocks at the foot of the cliffs. I say that it’s a marker light but I’ve often been out there at night as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, and I’ve never seen it lit. It looks as if it might probably be redundant.

From there I passed over the lawn and the car park towards the end of the headland.

peche à pied le loup mechanical diggers Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut I didn’t actually make the end of the headland straight away because the action going on out at Le Loup caught my eye.

There were the people – crowds of them today – at the peche à pied seeing as the tide is so far out this afternoon, but I was much more interested in the two mechanical diggers that had made their way out there to Le Loup, the marker light on the rock at the mouth of the harbour.

If you examine the photo closely you’ll see that there is a pipeline that runs between them. That’s the one that we saw them laying the other day. And I know what it is now. I’m told that it’s to “evacuate the waste from the harbour”. What that actually means, I’m really not so sure but it doesn’t look very healthy to me.

Down at the headland there were a few people wandering around but nothing going on out at sea, so I carried on for my walk along the path on top of the headland towards the docks.

hermes 1 lys noir aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the viewpoint overlooking the port, I had a good look down into the chantier navale.

No change in occupancy in there this afternoon but there was a frenzy of work being undertaken on Hermes 1. The top deck is swathed in a tarpaulin and there’s something going on underneath. There’s a compressor going off and making quite a racket and if you look carefully at the photo you’ll see a cloud of either steam or water vapour coming out of a gap in the tarpaulin.

Her hull is masked off in brown paper presumably for a painting spree some time in the near future. There has been a great deal of work being undertaken on her and she’s having a thorough going-over.

komatsu digger port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now it’s after 17:00 and it’s knocking-off time for most of the workers right now.

That presumably applies to the workers down in the harbour too. Here’s one of the diggers heading up the ramp at the outer harbour where the diggers park up overnight and at high tide so I reckon that he is knocking off for the night right now.

The guy down there carrying the baguettes seems to be quite interested in whatever is going on down there, because there is plenty of work going on in the outer harbour that we can’t see in this photo

workmen digger laying chains port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe need to look at this photo to see what has caught the eye of the man with the baguettes.

One of the diggers might be knocking off but the other one was working away quite hard this afternoon, along with the two men who are in attendance.

What they are actually doing is to sink into the silt some concrete blocks to which they will be attaching some heavy chains to which the boats will tie up when the tide is in.

And if you look closely at the photo here, you’ll see the heavy chain that they will be using. Having been out on the Spirit of Conrad I have seen them fish for a sunken mooring chain with a boat hook, pull it up onto the deck, tie the mooring rope to it and then drop the chain back overboard.

Having had a good walk I came back and the first thing that I did after making my coffee was to listen to the dictaphone, something that I had forgotten to do this morning. Last night we were talking about the work that I used to do, wandering around the town making notes. I’d been looking at some adverts in the newspaper for cars. I was making notes for cars for sale. It turned out that one of my colleagues owned a few of the cars that were advertised and he turned round and said “come on, what’s your price for these?”. I relied “I don’t really have a clue. I have to see them first for if they are white they are no good for what I want. We started talking about minicabs again, the firms that were based in Smallthorne. I was talking about two that came up, one opposite the camping shop and the other one a bit further down. Someone was saying “yes, they’ve changed a lot of their cars recently. They have a lot of new cars”. I said that I’d have to go out on the prowl like I used to. I told them the story of the time that I brought a coachload of people in to drop off in Hanley and how while I was waiting for them I was wandering around the town making notes of what was going on. I was talking to the guy who had taken over from me after I had left. He was saying “you only seem to be working one of your cases”. I replied “I’m not there any more am I?”. He replied “yes, there’s only one of your cases still working. The others are sitting there and there’s one that seems to be totally abandoned. There again, there was nothing owing in that particular respect. It was going to be a ‘nil’ case anyway”.

After that I did some work on the 2020 trip around Central Europe before knocking off to have my hour on the guitar. That was quite enjoyable and passed quite quickly.

Tea was veggie balls and pasta with vegetables followed by my apple crumble with soya coconut dessert stuff.

But now that my notes are finished I’m off to bed. I’m going shopping in the morning so I expect that I’ll probably be totally exhausted tomorrow as well. But at least I’m making progress, even if it isn’t as quick as I would like.

Tuesday 30th March 2021 – HAVING HAD A …

… really bad night last night, caused n the main by only having 5.5 hours of sleep, I’ve had a rather bad day today.

So bad in fact that most of the afternoon had been spent sleeping on the chair in the office. In fact there were times when I could quite easily have crawled back into bed and gone to sleep. and it probably would have been more productive had I have done so too.

But I can’t complain altogether because despite everything, today has been reasonably productive even if I didn’t spend the morning revising my Welsh (school is out for Easter by the way) as I had intended.

In news that will come as totally earth-shattering to most people, I’ve finally finished the photos for July 2019. And furthermore, I’ve burnt a DVD with those on it that I hadn’t burnt previously. This will be sent to Rosemary who, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, accompanied me from Aberdeen to Kangerlussuak.

As well as that I’ve finished another page of my voyage around Central Europe and THAT’S NOW ON LINE.

There’s just one more page to do but unfortunately that’s the page where I ran aground months ago. So don’t expect that to resurface any time soon.

In the middle of all of this I had to break off this morning to go into town. I’ve run out of fruit so I need some to keep me going until Thursday.

la grande ancre lifeboat yacht port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOff I set down the street towards town and I was arrested by the sight of the lifeboat going out and about for a run around.

They probably haven’t been out for a rescue but it does go out quite often for training exercises and the like and that’s probably what it’s been doing this morning.

There was plenty of other activity going on there at the Fish Processing Plant. Amongst the boats unloading there is our old friend la Grande Ancre who has probably been out collecting shellfish.

And there are plenty of vans parked around there too, presumably to take away the catch from the fishing boats. Whilst the Fish Processing Plant handles a lot of the catch, some of the boats belong to private enterprises such as wet fish shops or restaurants and they have their own vans to take away their shellfish.

Having watched them for a while I skipped off down the street towards town.

pointing rampe du mont à regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall the pointing that’s been going on on the wall on the Rampe du Monte à Regret next to the Rue des Juifs.

Having stalled for a few weeks, this project to have apprentices training on the wall seems to have led to something of a spurt and they have advanced quite considerably. Maybe they might even finish it some time soon and start on something else.

Down the steps I went and landed in the Place Pleville and then strode out to the Super U. With the bag that I had in my sac banane I carried away a couple of apples, a couple of pears and a couple of bananas.

It was a shame that the battery in the camera went flat at this point as I would have taken a few more photos while I was out.

Next stop was the Nautical Centre on the seafront. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few weeks ago I mentioned something about going on a sailing course and that’s the place to be. They were another one of these places where they know nothing but tell you “look on our website”. But at least they have courses and that’s always a start.

Next door to the CRNG is the Salle Hérel. That’s where the new vaccination centre is so I stuck my head inside to talk to someone. There was someone there so I started to tell my story but he cut me short. “I’m just the technician” he said. “If it’s a medical enquiry you need to come back tomorrow when the centre opens”.

So that’s something else that I need to do on Thursday morning on my way back from the shops. If I can have my second vaccination here instead of going all the way to Valognes, so much the better.

Back at the flat I carried on with work until lunchtime.

After lunch I came back in here to carry on work but I didn’t do a thing. I was curled up on the chair in here for most of the time.

When I awoke I was rather late for my afternoon walk so I grabbed the NIKON D500 and headed off out.

people swimming in water beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I reached the wall on the end of the car park I looked down onto the beach to see what was going on down there.

It goes without saying that I had to admire those people down there on the beach. Not just those paddling around up to their knees but the people who were even deeper in looking as if they were about to launch themselves off swimming in the water. They are braver men than I am, Gungha Din.

Mind you, one can hardly blame them. The sun was out, there wasn’t much wind at all and according to my thermometer at my apartment it was 22°C. Not the kind of weather in which I would want to be seen in the sea but I could understand others wanting to have a go.

fishing boat ile de chausey english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt wasn’t just on the beach that there were people around.

Right out at sea by one of the lights on a rock off the Ile de Chausey is one of the trawlers heading off into the English Channel to make its catch. As we saw this morning, they are very busy at the Fish Processing Plant wit all of the boats coming in with their catches.

Having looked around at what was going on I headed off towards the end of the headland, weaving my way through the throngs of people who were out there enjoying the weather this afternoon.

Across the lawn and the car park I went, to see what was happening out at sea. But there was nothing whatever happening out there so I continued on my way along the path on the other side if the headland.

cars parked on harbour wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallYou can tell that we are at the time of the Grande Marée. Just look at all of those cars parked on the harbour wall right now.

That is presumably where many of the people will be waiting for the “all clear” to go out onto the beach to scavenge for shellfish.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall because I’ve mentioned it before … “on many occasions” – ed … the foreshore is let out to commercial enterprises but at the very low tides of the Grande Marée the shore is uncovered beyond the commercially-let areas and the public has access to those areas.

They can scratch away to their hearts’ content subject to the rules and regulations about quantity and size

diggers laying mooring chains port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAlso scratching away to their hearts’ content down in the harbour are the two diggers that are laying the new mooring chains. They seem to be having a whale of a time.

But it beats my why they are doing this now. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a year or two ago they had whole performance down there working on the mooring chains, digging them out of the silt and refurbishing them. So I wonder why they didn’t do this work then rather than making everyone come back now to do it again.

It seems to be typical of the authorities around here that they don’t have a complete programme of work. They drained the inner port a few years ago to replace the harbour gates, and then came back 6 months later to install the new pontoons. They could have done it at half the cost and in half of the time had they done it when the harbour was empty.

Then there was the notice board giving details of the Pointe du Roc. They dug up the grass and installed a path to there. And then 6 months later they installed the monument to the Resistance and dug up the path that they had laid to the noticeboard and replaced it with a path to the Resistance Monument.

They don’t seem to have the aptitude to be able to think things right through

hermes 1 lys noir aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s yet more activity at the chantier navale today.

While Hermes I, Lys Noir and Aztec Lady are still on their stocks down there, Spirit of Conrad now seems to have cleared off back into the water after her little sojourn in the chantier navale, all fully repaired and ready for the coming season, if we are actually going to have a tourist season this year.

Hermes I looks quite nice today, all masked off with brown paper. if the weather holds I could see that she’s going to be sprayed with a new coat of paint in certain places. She’ll be as good as new, if not better, by the time she goes back into the water.

And having seen that, and having noticed that there was nothing else going on anywhere else, I cleared off back to my apartment. I have plenty of things that I need to be doing this afternoon.

One of the things that I needed to do was to make another batch of kefir.

Plenty of juice oranges around here so I whizzed up 4 of them to extract the juice which I sieved, and then added the brewing kefir that I had made last time. I’d left an inch or so of the mother solution to use as a starter and then added the sugar lemon and fig and then filled it up with another couple of pints of water.

By now the kefir in the big jug had mixed in quite nicely with the orange juice so I stirred it all around and poured it through my filter stack into the bottles.

orange kefir place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo here’s the finished product, all nice and orange. That will keep for a few days until I’m ready to use it.

And you’ll notice that I’m using the two bottles in which I had bought the lemonade the other week. We can see how they get on under the pressure of the fermentation. And if they hold out well enough, I’ll know what to buy the next time that they have a special offer.

As I was settling down afterwards to carry on work, Rosemary rang me up. And we had another one of our marathon chats – a mere 2 hours and 24 minutes. I’m amazed that I have so much to talk about.

That meant that I missed my guitar practice and a few other things besides. But at least with the ‘phone and the headset etc, I could wander around and do other stuff while I was talking.

Tea tonight was some vegan nuggets that I had bought in Leuven and hadn’t eaten. They were a couple of months past their sell-by date so I’ll be having the rest tomorrow. They were actually quite delicious with veg and potatoes and the apple crumble that followed it all down was just as delicious. I am eating well these days.

Having written my notes, I’m now ready for bed. I’m exhausted and ready for a really good sleep and it’s high time that I had one as well.

Monday 29th March 2021 – THE FIRST DAY …

… back at work after my trips to Leuven is always difficult. And today was no exception.

people on beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo while you admire a few of the photos of my trip around the headland this afternoon, I’ll tell you all about it.

At least this morning I managed to rise almost immediately after the first alarm went off. First task was to set the oven off and while it was heating up, I had the medication. After the medication I put the sourdough fruit loaf dough into the oven and set the timer for 80 minutes.

Back in the office I made a start on the radio programme. And that kept me busy for most of the morning. Much more busy than it ought to have done because I was expecting this to be a quick one, seeing as I’d already chosen the tracks and paired them.

home made sourdough fruit loaf place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt first I was doing well and when I stopped for my breakfast of hot chocolate and nice warm sourdough fruit bread (which was absolutely delicious by the way) I was well ahead of where I usually am.

It all fell apart at the end because I miscalculated the final track. I ended up being a minute over which was a shame because the final track was absolutely perfect for what I wanted and fitted the programme perfectly.

But in the text that I write and record, there is quite a lot that is able to be edited out without spoiling the rhythm or the meaning, but a whole minute-worth is taking things to extremes. It took me quite a while to trim it down into the one-hour slot and I was really struggling but in the end it managed to fit.

The advantage of this is that I have a pile of stuff that I’ve cut out that I can save to use again and as a result, in theory it should take much less time to write out the stuff in the future.

boat english channel ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen it was finally finished I had a listen to the programme and also the one that will be broadcast this coming weekend. And they both are pretty good, so I sent off this week’s programme.

The rest of the morning was spent dealing with the photos from July 2019. That’s another pile out of the way and I’m now down to a mere 8 remaining for the month.

Where I am now is at the site where Chief Big Foot (Spotted Elk) was captured by the American Cavalry on 28th December 1890. And the rest of the story is History. I visited the site of the Massacre at Wounded Knee that took place the day after Big Foot was captured and believe me, it’s a very sad place.

peche à pied grand maree baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter lunch I made a start on the arrears from my trip around Central Europe in the summer of 2020.

That’s a job that seems to be rather like the cleaning of the Augean stables was supposed to be – a never-ending task, especially as there are no rivers Alpheus and Peneus close by to help me.

By the time that it came to knocking off I was in the town of Becov nad Teplou in the Czech Republic admiring an old Czech Tatra Lorry and I still have a long way to go to Karlovy Vary.

I’m hoping that with a bit of luck I might actually finish it this week if I put my foot down, and then I can press on and start to deal with the week when I was on board the Spirit of Conrad down the Brittany Coast. I might have had more luck had I not crashed out for half an hour on my chair.

There was the usual break of course to go out for my afternoon walk.

ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe weather was absolutely beautiful as you can tell by the photos that you have seen so far.

As well as that the tide was quite far out and this is when the view of the Ile de Chausey is at its most beautiful. You can see the big beach out there that we walked on when we were there with Spirit of Conrad. At very low tide there is a kind of lagoon in between the islands over there and that was where we anchored to sleep for the night.

There are a great deal of sunken rocks around the islands with the pillars and warning lights upon them and today, with the tide being so low, they are all clearly visible today

Crowds of people out there this afternoon so I had to fight my way through the crowds down the path on top of the cliffs.

le loup bay de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMy route took me down to the lawn by the lighthouse and the Semaphore post. From there, there was a beautiful view of Le Loup, the light that sits on top of the rock at the harbour entrance

The two trees here made such a beautiful frame to the image that it was crying out for a photograph. When you see it like this, it’s hard to believe that when the tide is right in at the highest tide the column un which the light sits is almost submerged by the water. As I’ve said before … “and you’ll say again” – ed … we have the highest tides in Europe just here.

And looking at the tree on the right just here, you can understand Bob Dylan’s “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows”, do you?

object floating in the sea pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom the lawn by the lighthouse I walked across the car park and went down to the end of the headland. And there I saw a strange object bobbing up and down in the water.

It was very difficult to say what it was from this point of view. I took a photo of it so that I could crop it and enlarge it when I returned home, but having done so, I’m still none the wiser. It could be a marker for a lobster pot, although I wouldn’t have expected one to be this close to land, or it might ne a 25-litre oil drum washed overboard from a passing boat, or almost anything.

Having taken my photograph I walked off along the path on top of the cliffs on the other side of the headland.

mechanical digger peche à pied grand maree baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis was something that took me completely by surprise.

With it being the lowest tide of the year today – the famous Grande Marée – and also a holiday and lockdown period that has brought the crowds of people down from Paris there were crowds of people out there today practising the peche à pied and scratching around amongst the rocks for shellfish.

But the surprising thing was the mechanical digger thing that was out there with them. Once they start using mechanical equipment for the peche à pied that will be the end of a tradition.

Actually, it’s me being facetious. I’m sure that he’s doing something totally unconnected with the peche à pied

mechanical digger laying pipes baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt may well be that he’s doing something that’s connected to this little task out there.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a couple of weeks ago we saw a pile of pipes on the quayside and I was wondering what they are for. No need to wonder any more because they are all out there, being laid by a group of men, taking advantage of the very low tide.

It beats me what they are doing with all of those though. I’ve no idea what they would be doing that would require a pipeline to be lad on the beach out there. It’s not likely to be a sewer outfall or anything like that because of Health and Safety or Environmental Issues. I shall have to enquire.

spirit of conrad hermes 1 lys noir aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown at the chantier navale there’s yet another change of occupier there.

That motor boat Freddy Land has now disappeared, presumably gone back in the water. We still have Spirit of Conrad, Aztec Lady, Hermes 1 and Lys Noi down there on the blocks. And it was certainly a hive of activity down there this afternoon with a few vans and a load of workmen buzzing around working away

Nothing at all going on over at the ferry port right now. All of the boats have moved, either into the inner harbour or else they are out running over to the Ile de Chausey.

digger laying mooring wires port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut here’s something else that’s interesting going on in the harbour this afternoon.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve seen these diggers working away in the port a few weeks ago and I wondered what they were up to.

Now I know the answer to this question. There is €6,000,000 made available to a few of the ports around here to improve their facilities. Here in Granville, they have received some of the money to install three more mooring lines to make more anchoring facilities for smaller boats.

It’s just a shame that they hadn’t had the money to do this when they were working on the facilities two or so years ago.

Back here I had a coffee and worked on my arrears from Central Europe up until guitar time, something that was quite enjoyable.

And for tea it was a curry out of the freezer with veg and boiled potatoes. Followed by my delicious apple crumble.

Eventually I managed to listen to the dictaphone too to see where I’d been on my travels. I was driving one of G&B’s old Fords last night, taking the kids to college. One was sitting behind me chatting away saying that Brian didn’t like me and that I talked too much, loads of things like that. I said that I used to work for Europe’s largest coach company until it went bankrupt and I’d driven coaches as far east as Russia, places like that. I have loads of experience and I’m happy to share it with Brian but he doesn’t seem to want to learn or listen. The conversation continued. We weren’t going fast and 2 students alighted to walk in front of the coach. We came to a place where a tree was overhanging so I had to move out into the middle of the road so I had to ask these students to come back in. One of them was John Ashby so he came over to chat. He asked if I was still living on my farm. I told him of my health issues and that I was living in this apartment. He asked “do you have an owl?”. I replied “no”. He said “well you ought to have an owl. I’ll have a friend of mine make one”. We started to have a little chat but we didn’t get far as we came to the yard. The first thing that I noticed was that the drive had been moved. I was half-way up the old drive before I realised. I had to do a dramtic turn-round to get into the new drive. There was a kind of bracket-type of thing with 6 rather large upturned bolts welded to it lying on the path there . I said to the sentry who was busy looking at it “don’t worry. I’ll move it”. I got down, picked it up and threw it out of the way and drove the coach into the yard before he got off. By now it had become a motor bike. I noticed that the front tyre was low so John and I had a scavenge around the workshop to try to find a compressor that I knew was there. We found half of it – someone had dismantled it and left it in pieces. Some of the pieces were missing. We also talked about the cutlery and plates. One of the students had already asked me why things were a bit different on board the coach. I said that I hadn’t really noticed. John told me that all the crockery and cutlery had been changed and he asked me why. I said that I didn’t know. “All I know is that I have a key to the yard, a key to the office and a key to the coach. Brian just rings me up and asks me when he needs any work doing”.

But John Ashby – there’s a blast from the past. Someone who was struck off my friends list at school in 1971 when he stole my girlfriend at the time and about whom I haven’t thought for a single minute ever since. What’s he doing making a debut appearance and sticking his nose into my nocturnal ramblings?

Now though I’m off to bed, later than usual. I’m exhausted despite my sleep this afternoon. I can’t wait to get into bed.

Sunday 28th March 2021 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… the photos of the crowds of people out and about in thr glorious sunshine this afternoon, I can tell you about my rather quiet day today.

It started off as we mean to go on with me not rising from my stinking pit until 11:05 according to my fitbit, only to find out that it was in fact 12:05 because the clocks had altered this morning.

After breakfast I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night, because despite the fact that I’d taken that pill before I went to bed, I’d been out and about during the night and there were some notes about it on the dictaphone that needed to be transcribed.

yacht english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallI’d been to buy a motor bike at Webster’s at Crewe. They told me to come back on Friday and they would have a Honda 50 for me. I went back on Friday evening and as I walked into the shop the guy was selling it to someone else. I was really annoyed by that and I made my annoyance known. He said “don’t you worry. We have something ideal for you”. He took me into the back and there was this ancient Suzuki 250 painted red. I thought “this is a scrambler type of configuration, not very comfortable and I didn’t fancy that. There was another 50cc scooter but it was the type that was renowned for being uncomfortable and I didn’t want that either”. He said “we have a Ford Transit like your old one. It needs some work doing to it, the wheel bearings and a few things”. I took it home and noticed that a few of the exhaust parts were in the back of it. I did the rear wheel bearings and went to assemble the exhaust but found that it was bits of a VW exhaust and didn’t fit at all. That’s why half of it was in the back. I was pretty annoyed and ended up taking it back to the garage. I was going to tell them what I thought of them. There was much more to this dream than this but I can’t remember.

speedboat english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on a plane took off from somewhere and the radio was stuttering. It didn’t gain height and all of a sudden it crashed right in front of the sentry box where I was on duty. I summoned help and ran over to this ‘plane to see what had happened. I don’t remember any more of this except that I ended up in a load of trouble. For some reason my superior officer was very unhappy with me and bawled me out for something but I can’t remember what it was. I did notice that in the report that I’d submitted, the second sentence started with 2 capital letters instead of the usual 1. But I can’t remember very much of this at all.

First task today, despite it being Sunday and a Day of Rest, was to synchronise the big computer with the one that I took with me to Leuven. I’d done some work on various files while I was away so they needed to be copied back and to over-write the ones on the big computer.

Of course, if I were to have my files stored on a cloud, there wouldn’t be any need to do that. But I don’t want my files stored anywhere where I couldn’t access them regularly or, more importantly, where other people can access them.

Having done that I made a start on the baking activity.

First task was to make one of my sourdough bread things. I’m not very good with the sourdough as regular readers of this rubbish will recall and it doesn’t rise as much as it should. But adding to it a banana, some ground brazil nuts and a pile of dried and desiccated fruit, it makes a kind of soggy moist fruit cake, a slice of which makes a really delicious and nutritious breakfast with my hot chocolate.

Having set that off I turned my attention to the normal bread. A pile of wholemeal flour, water, salt, yeast, sugar and water and as well as that, several handfuls of sunflower seeds. The yeast and sugar added to the warm water and left to fester, and once it has begun to ferment I could add it to the flour and salt, and mix it all in.

While I was doing that I was talking to Liz on the internet and feeding the sourdough and the ginger while I was at it.

When it was all sitting there festering I went out side for my afternoon walk.

people playing boules place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were crowds and crowds of people wandering around outside this afternoon, including these people here who are playing petanque.

And this is what annoys me intensely because as you can see, not one of these people is wearing a face mask. Never having seen these people before, it’s my betting that they are tourists and if they have come from a Covid-infested area they could be spreading the virus around amongst everyone around here, despite everything that we are trying to do around here to keep the area virus-free.

It beats me, what these people do not understand about the virus and how it spreads after all of this time that we have been suffering. It’s people like this that are responsible to the raging epidemic that is going on at the moment and they should be brought to account.

people taking footpath under city walls rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallCrowds of people surging around everywhere this afternoon, as you can see over there in this photo.

That is the footpath underneath the walls, along which I used to run in the evenings when we were allowed out at night. But I wouldn’t show myself up by running along there in broad daylight with all of those people around. I have my pride.

But returning to our moutons as they say around here, you can see where the medieval walls are fenced off from the public because of their crumbling state. I have seen in the Council’s budget a reference to the repair of part of the walls and I hope that this part is to be included. It’s been fenced off since before I came to Granville.

hole in headland pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHere’s something that’s extremely exciting and which had happened while I was away in Leuven.

As usual, my route took me along the footpath on top of the headland and down to the lawn near the lighthouse and semaphore post, and on the lawn I stumbled across this.

It seems that a mysterious hole has appeared in the lawn. It’s about 20 cms in diameter and goes down to quite a depth. It seems unlikely to be any kind of natural formation so it’s possible that we are going to be seeing some kind of human activity around here in early course.

That’s something for me to keep at the back of my mind for the future.

f-giki robin dr 400 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was observing the hole in the ground, I was overflown by another light aeroplane. It was even quite busy in the air today.

This aeroplane is a Robin DR-400, serial number 1931, registration number F-GIKI and it’s owned by the Granville Aero Club. It’s one of their machines that is used for teaching flying and also teaching navigation, and hasn’t that given me an idea?

As for where it’s going, I can’t say because it hasn’t filed a flight plan and by the time that I returned to my apartment it must have landed because it wasn’t shown on the flight radar.

From there I walked across the car park and down to the headland where I saw the yacht with the wind turbine at the stern whose photo you saw earlier. And then I wandered off along the path on top of the headland overlooking the port.

spirit of conrad hermes 1 lys noir freddy land aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt goes without saying that I was interested in what was going on down in the chantier navale.

From the viewpoint there I could see down into the yard and I noticed that there was no change in occupancy there. We have Spirit of Conrad, Hermes I, Lys Noir, Freddy Land and Aztec Lady but that’s about it. No-one left and no-one else came while I was away in Leuven.

There’s no-one down there working on them so they can’t be in a dreadful rush to leave here and go back into the water. Not that they could go back into the water right now because as you can see, the tide is right out just now.

And there’s nothing going on at the ferry port either. On the way down to the station I’d noticed that there was an excursion to the Ile de Chausey advertised for today so probably both of the Joly France boats are out there with their passengers.

chausiais port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere seems to be plenty of activity down at the loading bay in the inner harbour. Chausiais is moored up there underneath the loading crane.

The boat behind it is interesting too. It’s shrink-wrapped so it’s possibly a new boat, and it’s looking as if it’s waiting there for a lift to other parts. We’ll have to see who comes along to pick her up.

From the harbour I went on home and partook of what was left of my orange ginger beer – no coffee today because it’s quite warm outside. And it was delicious too. Despite its volatile nature and explosive capability, I’ll make some more – but this time I’ll try some stronger bottles rather than the IKEA ones that couldn’t last the pace.

Back here I carried on with my cooking.

First thing to do was to prepare an apple crumble. Because I have only a small oven I made it in two smaller dishes that I could stack one on top of the other.

While I was doing that I’d switched on the oven and when the crumble was ready I bunged that and the bread in there.

Next was to roll out the pizza pastry that I’d taken out of the freezer first thing. And having greased the pizza tray I put the pizza base in and folded the overhanging edges back into the tray. Then I left to fester for an hour.

Later on I assembled the pizza and when the bread and crumble were cooked I took them out and put the pizza in.

During the various pauses I’ve been working on the photos from July 2019. Another pile has bitten the dust and there are just 38 left for that month. I’m now approaching Wounded Knee in South Dakota.

vegan pizza home made bread vegan apple crumble place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHere are the finished products. Don’t they look delicious?

The pizza tasted really delicious and it would have been even better had I remembered to turn up the oven again after I’d removed the bread. I’ve no idea what the crumble is like because being full after my pizza, I didn’t have a dessert.

Now that I’ve written my notes I’m off to bed. There’s a radio programme that needs doing tomorrow and that’s the first thing to be done. But there’s also the sourdough to be baked so that it’s ready for my mid-morning break and so I’ll have to put that into the oven as soon as I wake up.

Here’s hoping that I have a good cramp-free sleep.

Tuesday 23rd March 2021 – WE’VE BEEN HAVING …

fisherman english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… something of a nautical day again today instead of the aviation day that we had at the weekend.

This guy out there in the English Channel in his little cabin cruiser with a couple of fishing roads hanging out over the back is just typical of what was going on out there this afternoon.

It’s quite possible that it has something to do with the arrival of the Parisians fleeing confinement at their main address and heading out to their second homes of whatever accommodation they have been able to hire at short notice, but the sea was absolutely heaving with people this afternoon in all kinds of water craft.

man plankboarding english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd when I say “all kinds of water craft” I really do mean that because this is yet another example of what was going on down below me in the English Channel.

Someone has decided to go out for a paddle on his paddle board and if he has paddled like that all the way around the Pointe du Roc from the port de plaisance, then he’s been doing really well because that’s not going to be an easy paddle, even when the weather is calm and the sea is smooth.

Actually the weather was quite calm this afternoon and it was rather warm, although not that warm that taking off your shirt was ever going to be any kind of option as far as I was concerned.

trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis on the other hand is more like the kind of maritime activity that we are accustomed to see around here these days.

The tide is well in and the harbour gates are open so every now and again a trawler will set sail and head out to the open sea for another bout of fishing activity.

Regardless of the effects of Brexit to date, fishing is still continuing out there in the English Channel and the Bay of Granville although with relations between the UK and the EU deteriorating rapidly as the UK breaches Law after Law and Agreement after Agreement, how long this situation will continue is anyone’s guess.

This morning, I was up once more just after the first alarm went off and after the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been but to my surprise there was nothing at all on there. I must have slept soundly all the way through until the alarm.

With nothing to transcribe on the dictaphone I attacked the photos from July 2019. Right now I’m just pulling into the Travel Inn Motel in Lamoure, North Dakota, and there’s only about 90 to do now before the end of the month.

That’s only part of the problem though. For the month of August having made an initial run-through of the photos, there are 2091 of those that survived the first run-through so bearing in mind that many of them will produce two or even more images, we are looking at probably 2500 photos that will be done. And about 20 videos too.

There was the Welsh lesson this morning too. Having completed my day’s supply of photos I did some preparation for my course and then armed with a mug of hot chocolate and a slice of my sourdough fruit bread, I went for my lesson.

In contrast to last week it went rather better although it’s sad that I have forgotten more than I seem to be remembering right now.

For the rest of the day I haven’t stopped for a meal as I started a project that is taking more time than ever I anticipated that it would and I can see the computer being left on all the time while I’m away in Leuven. I have a couple of computer drives that failed a while ago and as regular readers of this rubbish will recall I’ve been trying to get them to fire up.

A few weeks ago I managed to make one of them work and so this afternoon I started to access the sectors manually. It’s probably 20 years since I’ve done anything like this and while computers have speeded up dramatically in that time, using pseudo-DOS hasn’t and hard drives are measured in Terabytes these days not Megabytes.

Having started at about 14:30 this afternoon and it’s now 21:50 and it’s done 2.5%. I thought that it would be a slow, laborious process but not quite as slow as this. And that’s not to say that I’ll be able to salvage anything. If any individual item of the data has spread over a defective sector then that will not be recoverable for a start.

While the computer was doing what it could do on its own I nipped out for my afternoon walk.

beach rue du nord plat gousset donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAlthough there wasn’t all that much beach to be on right now because of the tide, it was proving to be quite popular this afternoon. The weather was really beautiful this afternoon with bright sunshine, bright blue sky and very few clouds in the sky.

There were plenty of people wandering around there on the paths too. Not much respect for social distancing and not as much respect for mask-wearing either. But I’m sure that you are fed up of me going on about all of this. It will become as obsessive as the pathetic parking that features on here when I’m having one of my moments.

Instead, I pushed off along the path down to the end by the lighthouse and across the lawn at the bottom.

police interaction rue du cap lihou Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd as I reached the end of the lawn by the car park I bounced into an enormous pile of excitement down there by the roundabout.

From this viewpoint I wasn’t able to understand exactly what was going on but there were a couple of police motorcyclists down there and they seem to have pulled over a motorcyclist and his female pillion passenger.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, while I’m not usually averse to going down and asking what is going on, there are moments when it is clearly inappropriate and this is one of them. I’m sure that they didn’t want me going down there intruding at a moment like this so I left them to it.

roofing college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallInstead, I concentrated on what else was going on all around me.

The most important thing that is happening right now is the reroofing that’s going on down at the College Malraux. As you can see, they seem to be making some reasonable progress since the last time that I had a good moan about it and they now have ripped off yet another bay on the roof.

They have almost finished putting the laths on there now too so it looks as if the fitting of the slates won’t be too far behind. It’ll be interesting to see where they will have reached when I come back from Leuven on Saturday afternoon, assuming that they let me out of Castle Anthrax.

zodiac baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little earlier on I mentioned that there was all kinds of activity going on out at sea this afternoon and all types of water craft out there at sea this afternoon.

From my vantage point at the end of the headland I could see this zodiac roaring away into the bay down below. There didn’t seem to be any fishing rods on display but that isn’t to say that they are or aren’t fishermen. But the lifejacket that the passenger was wearing looked to be rather more substantial than you might expect for someone who would have to wield a fishing rod around.

Anyway they soon cleared off round the corner and out of sight towards the port so whatever it is that they were doing, they seems to have finished it and the tide has still a good while to go before the harbour is inaccessible.

While I was admiring the zodiac out in the bay I was overflown by a light aircraft. We’re having some aerial activity to day too.

f-bukk Wassmer WA54 Atlantic pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis aeroplane is F-BUKK, which tells me that it’s a Wassmer WA54 Atlantic, a design of aeroplane that dates from as far back as 1966. They have a special place in aviation history as they are the first aeroplanes built of composite materials.

They are actually probably the only type of true passenger aeroplanes that we have seen flying out of Granville airport as they have seats for three passengers as well as the pilot.

This one is a WA54 rather that a WA 50-something else because it has the larger 180hp Lycoming “O-360-A1LD” engine rather than the 150 hp Lycoming “O-320-E2A” engine. 55 of this model were built.

She had taken off from Granville and gone for a good flight down the Brittany coast almost as far as lannion where she turned round and came back to Granville again.

spirit of conrad hermes 1 lys noir freddy land aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown at the chantier navale there was a surprise waiting for me.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw the mobile boat lift hovering away over Hermes 1 and I speculated that it had come to load up the trawler and drop it back into the water at the following high tide.

Anyway, I don’t know what must have happened but Hermes 1 is still there and the mobile boat lift is back in its parking place. All that I can think of is that they needed to reposition her chocks so that she would sit in a different position so that they could work on another part of her hull.

unloading lorry port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were things going on in the inner harbour this afternoon too. A large lorry seemed to be unloading its charge down by the loading bay.

Presumably this means that we are going to be having a visit from one or other or maybe even both of the two Jersey freighters in the course of the next couple of days.

From there I headed back to home and my hot mug of coffee and to see how my manual analysis of the disk was doing. And, as I said, it was very, very slowly. This is going to be a very long job.

While it was doing bits and pieces that I could leave it alone to do, I did a little more of the arrears of my trip to Central Europe and I’m now IN A HOTEL IN FÛRTH in Central Germany.

After the guitar practice I carried on with the disk analysis and then I wrote out my notes for the day. And now I’m off to bed. I have an early start tomorrow as I’m off to Castle Anthrax and there’s a lot to do before I go.

Monday 22nd March 2021 – I WAS RIGHT …

cabanon de guet tourists pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… about all of the tourists having arrived here in Granville. The place was crawling with them this afternoon.

There was this couple sitting on the bench at the end of the headland by the watchman’s old cabin and they were just any one of any number of them that I could have photographed today, all lying around disporting themselves in the sun.

It beats me, it really does, what goes through the heads of some people in situations like this. What don’t they understand about a pandemic? How many more people have to die before they get the message?

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’m one of the last people to advocate the presence of soldiers on the streets but in a situation like this I would have the military out at each boundary checking people’s right to travel. The military might not be good for much, but this is the kind of thing that’s important.

This morning I was out of bed just after the first alarm and after the medication I made a start on the radio programme. I was right that I wouldn’t finish it by 11:15 but starting from scratch as I did and finishing by 12:15, that was pretty good going and I was happy with that, especially as I had my usual break for hot chocolate and sourdough fruit bread.

And once it was finished and I’d heard it, I crashed out on the armchair in the office and as a result I was late for my lunch yet again.

This afternoon I Had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I was in Crewe last night and going to meet Esi. I’d already met her a couple of times around here and there and this time I walked up Earle Street and turned round the corner into Market Street and had the sun full in my eyes so I couldn’t see a thing. There was someone I knew standing on the left so I said “hi” to her but I couldn’t see who the other people were with her. It wasn’t until I’d gone past that I thought that the possibility might be that one of them was TOTGA. As I walked into the Square I heard someone shout my name. It was a boy’s voice, sounded like one of my classmates from school. I turned round but couldn’t see anything. There were some people loading a lorry and trailer with all kinds of mannequins to put into a new shop that was opening next to where the old cinema used to be. I carried on walking past the Bus Station and came to some waste land. I walked all over this waste land round the back of the bus station and the back end of the houses at the top end of Victoria Street but suddenly realised that I was miles away from where I was going to meet Esi so I set off to walk back. I remember at one point having a conversation but I only got 3 or 4 words out before I realised that I was too tired to say the rest.

Having done that I made another start on the photos from July 2019 and made good progress. I’m now down the james River somewhere near the border between North Dakota and South Dakota. There’s only about another 170 to do before they are all completed for the month of July 2019. Only 3 months or so to go after that. The big question is “will I finish all of this, or will all of this finish me?”.

There was the usual pause to go out for my walk this afternoon.

beach rue du nord plat gousset donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I’d been working away the sun had been streaming in through the window so I was hoping that the day would be better than yesterday, and I wasn’t to be disappointed.

There was some mist about as you can see in the photo and there was plenty of cloud around too but at least it was an awful lot lighter than it was yesterday. It was cold but not all that windy and that’s the first time for ages that I haven’t been blown away.

No-one down on the beach wandering around, so it seemed but there were plenty of other people up here on the path on top of the cliffs and I had to thread my way through the crowds on the path and reclining on the lawn by the lighthouse.

gorse bushes pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown at the headland there wasn’t anything going on except for the tourists of course but the vegetation was looking quite good today.

The trees are starting to sprout their leaves right now and the gorse bushes are in full bloom giving us a lovely carpet of yellow flowers down there by the bottom footpath and on the cliffs lower down.

But there was nothing going on out at sea and the Brittany coast wasn’t all that clear so I pushed on along the path and across the road where I was nearly flattened by someone in a minibus – something that doubtless filled you all with a great deal of dismay.

hermes 1 ready to be put back into water chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was all kinds of excitement going on at the chantier navale this afternoon as you can see. It looks as if we are about to have another change of occupant in there.

The portable boat lift has moved from its parking place and is now hovering about over the trawler Hermes 1. In the absence of any other indication, it looks as if she is preparing to be put back into the water at the next high tide. I waited there for a good few minutes to see if anything was going to develop but nothing seemed to be moving and they weren’t in any rush to do anything.

The other boats are still there – Spirit of Conrad, Lys Noir, Freddy Land and, out of shot, Aztec Lady. But things are starting to become interesting down there right now.

joly france fishing boat ferry port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSomething else that’s been going on right now is the parking of fishing boats by the Fish Processing Plant and letting them go aground when the tide was out.

The tide wasn’t out far enough today to see whether there would be any there today, but one thing that I noticed is that there now is a fishing boat that seems to be tied up over by the ferry port next to Joly France. Why this is happening is beyond my comprehension but the cynic in me suggests that they must have increased the mooring charged in the inner harbour.

With nothing else going on down there I headed for home and my mug of hot coffee, and continued with the photos until it was guitar time, although a little crash-out yet again didn’t help matters very much.

Tea tonight was a lentil and tofu pie with vegetables followed by apple pie and ice cream. I’m trying to empty the freezer a little as I’m running out of room in there.

Welsh tomorrow so I’m off to bed early. I need to be on form. And then it’s printing out papers and packing ready for the road on Wednesday.